Tribes and mobs:
The power of the masses on the InternetTribes and mobs: the power of the masses on the Internet
For the “non-technological”, it has always been surprising that “computer science” raises passions. Seth Godin has made fashionable the idea of tribes with a somewhat different meaning, but the tribe is the word that comes to mind to talk about these groups:
▪ The “Maqueros” against those of PC:
▪ The “Linuxeros” against those of Windows: Image of aprons
▪ Those of Firefox against those of Internet Explorer:
Firefox vs Explorer
From the preambles of the Internet, the fans of each technology have found (first in the BBS, then in the forums, then in blogs and today in social networks) the perfect environment in which to share their passion, exchange ideas and, not less important, criticize the contrary.
The problems arise when the line that separates the ingenious criticism from the attack is misplaced: some chains of reactions can degenerate into a true “virtual mob” (in English mob ). One of the latest cases is the attack on Michael Arrington, founder of TechCrunch, following an argument with Leo Laporte on the ” Gillmor Gang ” program. ( NOTE: You should always read these stories taking into account that for the “superstars” of the Internet it is very important to talk about them constantly ). What is behind these mobs? I do not think the problem is in the tools because, as I always say, technology only magnifies social phenomena that were already there :
1. The tribe: The habitual users of the social web have a strong feeling of belonging to their “digital community”, maybe inheritor of the tribes that spoke at the beginning of this post.
2. Group thinking: In communities formed by people who share interests and passions, the logic is that the worldview becomes quite partial: in the tribe, the opinions you listen tend to reinforce yours and, conversely, you reinforce the opinions of the group.
3. The search for recognition: Criticism of the adversary is tugging and some of the famous “content-generating users” take pride in “giving a shot” while their followers praise their ingenuity.
4. The dilution of responsibility: It is proven that we feel less responsible for our actions when we act as part of a group. The combination of all the above can sometimes be explosive. Leaving aside the mobs , there are many other examples of the “power of the masses” on the Internet: Digg has lived it and on Twitter it has been usual to see small “conspiracies” of the users to make a certain theme appear in the “trending” topics “(list of popular topics published by Twitter). In these cases, I believe that a variation of the erotic of power also influences: it is exciting to test the power of the tribe, to see how the sum of all acting in coordination can achieve an unattainable effect for the members of the group individually. Does all this have any importance from the perspective of digital strategy? I think so: there is a lot of talk about personalization, “one-to-one marketing”, etc. but we must not forget that the group can play a role as important as that of the individual. Do you have other examples of demonstrations of the power of the group on the Internet?