by Luna Flesher
Prior to the internet, group dynamics seemed to be as likely to produce greater stupidity (the lowest common denominator) as it was to create beautiful productive things. Group have even produce great evils that could never come about under a single individual. Members of such groups reflect that they never would have done such things on their own. Much has been written on this. Many researchers and authors attribute this to, among other things, the lack of accountability that a crowd can provide.
Internet technologies appear to be changing that, allowing the greatest common ideas and actions to float to the top. Collaborative review allows acceptance or rejection of ideas before they are implemented. Search and integration technologies allow us to access the right content as it is needed.
The iterative nature of these technologies mean that nothing is cast in stone, and can be quickly changed if needed.
Transparency helps to retain personal accountability that was lost in the large groups of the past. In many ways, you are or can be more anonymous in these new communities. But even with or without levels of anonymity, a record remains, attached to your chosen identity.
Transparency also helps us focus more on our commonalities. In past dynamics, groups thrived on differences. This Us vs Them mentality motivated people to destroy rather than create. With physical barriers removed, information "wants to be free", and we understand each other better.
When I read "We is smarter than Me", in the past I would have laughed and said Fat Chance! Now? Through technology we're able to keep the Me in We, which lets We reflect the best of the group.