This is the second of the two giant elephants to be contained in the publisher's proposal, the Table of Contents (TOC), the first being the Overview. While the Overview is intended to give the publisher a sense of the style of the book, the TOC focuses on contents and flow. In many ways it is a contract proposal. if I give you this, will you give me a lucrative advance?
So you may find the language a little flat. Please keep in mind it is part of a propsal and not text for the book itself. I need your help in telling me:
- Am I covering the right subjects?
- Does the flow hold together?
- What have I included that does not belong
- What have I missed, that needs to be included.
To be honest, the biggest challenge in writing it was the subject is much bigger than I realized. I intend to write another 80,000 word book and as such I am leaving out a good deal that i would like to include.
Please also note that this is just version 1.0. Your comments got me to publish two rewrites of the Overview and I am fully willing to do that again here. The TOC is very important. The rest of the proposal is relative coasting.
Finally, a warning--the TOC runs over 2500 words, so read it at your leisure--certainly not on your cellphone while driving down the highway.
I look forward to your constructive comments.
—How social media moves power from institutions to people
Table of Contents
Foreword by Robert Scoble
PART 1 What’s Happening
Prologue … the more we remain the same
Before examining the present and near future, the Prologue takes readers back 10,000 years or so for a brief allegorical visit to Boogi and Woogi, two Cro-Magnon living among mountainside cave dwellers. The two are skilled hunters and because they so often bring home the mastodon, they are held in high esteem by their entire small village.
We follow them through a hunt, journeying deep into the forest, watching them use teamwork and tools to survive the unknown that surrounds their safe village. We watch them encounter “others” from a distant village, where they wear strange furs and grunt with strange accents. The prehistoric hunters approach each other with caution. Sometimes such meetings result in trade for new goods that will help their home village. At other times, it results in serious skull-bashing.
As they return to their village, Boogi and Woogi use a rock on a tree stump to pound out a rhythmic beat, communicating to their village that they are returning. The rhythm signals the success or failure of their foray, and let’s other community members know if help is needed.
When their hunt has been successful, there is a celebration and after a feast, the ancestors of our ancestors sit around a fire, sharing stories of their adventures beyond the forest edge, where their little neighborhood ends. They draw maps with sticks on the cave floor, to tell others where they have been, where they found food, other people, where they slept and whether it was safe or not. To emphasize their most dramatic stories, they use blood and berries to draw pictures on their cave walls.
The prologue is designed to illustrate how very much we modern day humans resemble our ancient ancestors. We are still curious by nature. We are still a bit unsure of the outcome when we meet new cultures. We respect those who are the most generous to or communities. We continuously develop tools to let us communicate and trabel further and further away from our neighborhoods.
And in our hearts, most of us continue to feel, there is no place like home.
Chapter 1 Virtual neighborhoods. Tangible relationships.
This chapter explains what it is about neighborhoods that gives most people so much comfort. It describes how people share information, agree on certain rules, sets a common understanding of boundaries, working in so many ways as it has since we were all huddled together in caves.
It also explains how technology now allows anyone with internet access to join new, geographically agnostic neighborhoods--global neighborhoods, where people all over the world are meeting and sharing ideas and information. While these neighborhoods are virtual, the relationships are in fact quite real. Using much of the language and imagery contained in the Overview, blended with specific examples, this chapter explains the significance of global neighborhoods to business, government, education and social interaction.
It explains how even language—one of the internet’s most formidable barriers is being whittled down a few pegs as people communicate in the universal languages of music and pictures.
Chapter 1 also sets a recurring theme of Global Neighborhhoods, that the young will always inherit the Earth and in so doing, their habits as teenagers and young adults are likely to follow them through life as will many of the relationships they are forming today.
Chapter 2 The Online Megalopolis
This chapter takes readers on a brief guided tour of the most popular online communities such as MySpace, Bebo, YouTube, SecondLife and Flickr, talking with a few executives and several users. It explains that some of these online communities are many times larger than the world’s largest cities. If people look at the entire sprawling confusion of places like Sao Paulo or Tokyo, it becomes overwhelming in confusion and contrast. The same can be said, if you try to visit everything at YouTube or everyone in Second Life.
It is human nature to subdivide. In the case of these online megalopolises, people self organize into smaller more manageable groups of people who share similar interests, passions or even fantasies. To the user, there is comfort or even excitement in the neighborhood. As people interested in any topic—hummingbirds or race hatred can find others of like mind and avoid those of different orientation.
In fact, many neighborhoods feature the same people, meeting in comfortable places in multiple communities, thus having the neighborhood without borders perhaps emerge into a neighborhood that extends beyond the borders of any internet address as well.
The chapter touches upon the many challenges this new, global social phenomenon is having on institutions. For large organizations where opinion and information has been controlled and distributed from the top down, we now have these global neighborhoods moving from the bottom up. In organizations accustomed to forming opinions through branding campaigns, we now have a place where people influence each other and the key influencers are the most generous in what they give to the neighborhood, not what they spend on advertising.
Chapter 3 To see the future, watch the kids
This chapter will begin with the moving story of Ine Dehandschutter to study photography and wound up creating a private online community of Palestinian and Israeli high schoolers who learned how amazingly similar they are to each other and how the project was passed on to a group of teachers who are extending the project into other high schools in other countries. I serves up several stories of young people in geographically diverse countries finding each other via the internet to discover their many similarities. It also gives examples of young people from diverse cultures behaving through technology in extremely similar fashion.
The chapter makes the obvious point that the young will always inherit the Earth and advises that the habits they acquire prior to coming of age will be the habits they keep as they enter the marketplace,
Young people all over the world are eschewing traditional media. They have developed immunities to most traditional advertising. They trust each other far more than institutions or authority figures. Because of who and what they are encountering online, the culture of young people is more global than any generation that has preceded it.
The chapter contains several anecdotes regarding young people linking with each other around the world; behaving the same in one country as in another as well as enjoying the same music.
The chapter also asks two questions that it will attempt to answer in the closing chapter: What will the world look like in 10 years time after this next generation enters the workplace and recalibrate what happens there. Will the world be a better place or worse?
Chapter 4 The Virtual Classroom
The chapter begins by discussing a universal ailment afflicting almost every student in almost every classroom throughout history—boredom. Why is it that history class seems to be little more than memorizing a chronology of dates and geography seems to dwell on what country produces the most copper?
It looks at new technology, particularly virtual reality as is being used at SecondLife that can soon make classroom lesson come to life. The teacher of the future will teach the Battle of Hastings by taking you there to chat with a virtual William the Conqueror, or to the Alps, not to discuss glacial striation, but to show you the unique beauty contained there.
It spotlights one country—Scotland, talking with educators and students who are having remarkable experiences, and how at east one of the country’s most respected public educators sees a better future for the entire country by introducing social media into the classroom.
Chapter 5 Politicians in Pursuit
Throughout the world, government officials and political aspirants are turning to social media in droves. Their adoption has now eclipsed business adoption or so it would appear. Why is this occurring, the chapter asks. Because that’s where the voters are going, it answers.
Referring again to the habits of young people the chapter talks to political professionals about the trend. Young people are starting to vote in larger numbers once again. They are getting their information primarily from online resources and in may elections, they may represent the largest undecided bloc.
Besides the internet is the most efficient place in history to raise money and social media sites are making it easier all the time, the chapter argues.
It spotlights at least two politicians: John Edwards who will be running what appears to be the most social media oriented campaign in history and David Cameron, who is video blogging his candidacy to become British Prime minister. These two campaigns will be conducted concurrent with the writing of Global Neighborhoods. It also looks at Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who uses a blog to express his strongly anti-American and anti-Israeli views.
Chapter 6 The online republic
With 1.4 million people, little Estonia, is the second smallest country in the European Union, larger only than Malta. According to its former prime minister, interviewed for this book, it is the world’s most direct democracy. It also has the most free internet connection of any country. It uses the universal online access to collect taxes and vote. There is some talk of dissolving Parliament and just let people vote directly each Sunday on whatever they key issues are.
Estonians generally like their government. They don’t even have much against their tax collectors. The head of one of the country’s newest businesses told Global Neighborhoods that when he has a big problem he just calls up the prime minister who always takes his call.
This chapter looks at Estonia’s remarkable history since Soviet control ended and the country turned it attention and loyalty westward. It reports on interviews with Estonia’s president and former prime minister as well as several entrepreneurs, technology pioneers, investors and takes you on a brief contrast-filled walking tour of the capital city.
It suggests the rest of the world might have something to learn about the use of connectivity in creating a more democratic, bottom up government.
Chapter 7 Starting Everywhere
In the tech sector, conventional wisdom dictates that the center of the universe is Silicon Valley. This may or may not be so, but what is clear is that the universe is expanding into historically unlikely places ranging from Montana to cORK, Ho Chi Minh City, Phuket, Estonia, Romania, Czechoslovakia and South Africa. If the playing field has not quite flattened as has been suggested, then it is at least leveling out a an impressive rate.
This chapter looks at two aspects of the trend to decentralize entrepreneurialism. First, a great many of these companies are social media companies, and they face a tough choice regarding the language of their products and services. Second, the efficiencies of social media allows these companies to market, recruit and collaborate in ways not previously possible. The chapter looks at a few companies of fewer than 20 employees, working in multiple countries with users all over the world.
It takes a pragmatic look at one of the paradoxes of the social media boom. While the barriers to entry have been lowered for entrepreneurs all over the world, the barriers to exit seem formidable. Are all the world’s 2000 social media startups planning to be acquired by a small handful of companies like Google and Yahoo? If so, how much does the world really change moving forward?
Chapter 8 Closer than computers allow
This chapter examines how low cost access to other technologies is also making the world smaller and flatter. Low cost airlines are letting everyday people to see and experience places their parents could never afford to see. It s also allowing people who first met online to meet each other in the real world, and thankfully, there is still nothing for social networking that beats a face-to-face meeting. It will describe a RyanAir early morning flight from Dublin to London, filled with day tripping high schoolers headed perhaps to a museum, some of whom had not previously been out of Ireland.
Second the chapter looks at the impact of low-cost telephony services, ignited by Skype who now carries over 10 percent of voice calls between the US and Europe. Now, new services are coming along to make these calls less expensive than Skype
These services are becoming even less expensive than Skype by orders of magnitude. And the technology is moving away from the computer into the cell phone. It’s not just for the mobile executive wishing to cut costs as companies start courting immigrant workers and others who can barely afford their weekly calls home.
Calls and airfare, the chapter asserts, are part of the social media phenomenon. Social media has moved beyond the computer screen and is about technology that allows people to connect with people and places that were previously inaccessible to them.
PART 2: The Issues
Chapter 9 Bypassing Babel
This chapter looks at one of the most formidable barriers to creating true global neighborhoods—the barriers of language. Population and commerce of the world today centers around three countries—the US, Russia and China. Each has their own distinct languages. Then there are hundreds of languages being used by the peoples of the world. As more people in more countries gain broadband access, social media providers will need to determine what languages they serve up. The chapter looks at the trend to use English as the Internet language of the West and at an Italian and Estonian companies that decided to stay with their local languages. The chapter discusses the importance of this choice to accompany future and discusses the pros and cons of the two directions.
The chapter laments the current quality of online translation software and explains why it is so difficult to improve upon them.
Finally, it talks about the universal languages of music and pictures, looking at certain sites that attract users and customers from scores of countries.
Chapter 10 Generosity as a competitive advantage
Back 50-60 years ago, many of America’s biggest manufacturers built “company towns” and placed there employees in them. The company owned everything—the homes, churches, schools, general store and health service facilities. These company towns appeared to serve the workers, but in the long run they proved to be deceptively self-serving.
In this chapter, the author likens those factory towns of yesterday to new attempts of large companies to build and control information in new online communities and explains why these attempts are destined to fail, giving specific examples. While back then, the intent was to own employees, current day attempts are caused by the delusion that a company can “own customers,” when in fact, it’s the customers who own markets and it is they who will decide, the future of the company.
He also reports on companies such as Hitachi Data Systems and Wells Fargo Bank who are using generosity as a competitive advantage, Instead of constructing virtual walled gardens, these companies are either providing or joining online communities for their markets, that are open to competitors, where competitive information is welcome, where one vendor can advise another’s customer on how to solve a technical problem.
Chapter 11 The challenges of big
As young people come of age, the need for large organizations to change course will increase. The longer they wait, the faster they will turn around. This chapter warns large companies to start changing course sooner, rather than later, likening them to super tankers clipping along at 35 knots, which need miles of open sea and hours of time to reverse course. If a super tanker waits too long, this chapter warns, it just might run aground.
Starting an entirely new industry that will improve the lives of many of the world’s inhabitants has almost always been an entrepreneurial endeavor. These small companies move with great agility, ride massive waves of adoption and get big, usually without much regard to such details as revenue, user support or managing large numbers of employees.
But consolidation happens and when it does innovation slows. When this happens, will the incredible pace of social media slow? Will innovation stumble? Will the need for profits dampen the current Renaissance. This chapter looks at these questions and suggests some possible outcomes.
Chapter 12 Shadows in the Neighborhood
Most of us know what streets and alleys to avoid in our neighborhood and parents are able to tell their children what sort of people to avoid. It’s more complicated in the global neighborhood, where the masks of bad guys are more difficult to detect. This chapter looks at some very real and frightening issues.
First it examines the sort of shysters that have always followed the gold rush, spamming hucksters, sex peddlers and purveyors of unmiraculous cures. The chapter also looks at the more serious issues of predators, hate mongers and terrorist recruiters.
It describes an ongoing cold war between those who are creating new ways for people everywhere to connect and share, to bypass institutions, to educate children and those who wish to abuse those systems as fast as they are created.
PART 3: Into the future
Chapter 13 What will the inheritors do?
This lengthy concluding chapter will paint an optimistic picture of what the world will look like a decade from now, after one generation has driven off with aging customers to Jurassic Park to be replaced by a new generation of employees and decision makers who enter the workplace with their own personal global networks.
It will examine a future classroom where history and geography are taught through virtual reality or a college classroom and where scholars can have a virtual conversation with the deceased originator of a particular thesis.
It concludes on a hopeful note: That if people can extend themselves beyond their physical neighborhoods to understand how they share much in common, if they have the tools to talk directly with each other then there will be more trade, collaboration, inspiration between people and the descendants of Boogi and Woogi are perhaps more likely to be able to lay down their modern-age skull-bashing tools and just share holiday picture of Flickr.