Saturday 29 November 2008

Control scales, but the nature of control changes

David Weinberger writes that with a few exceptions, control doesn’t scale and social media makes social control even harder – a point Clay Shirky also makes, although he highlights that its as much about the medium as it is the message.

In my mind the development and relationship of information and communication technology (ICT) to control is also a story about the span and speed of that control. Without ICT we would be stuck managing at the speed of the fastest horse, boat or semaphore message and adding up the payroll using an abacus or slide rule.

And like management, control in itself isn’t a bad thing – for example, look at the use of social media during disasters in recent years – just the motives behind it. If anything, social media shows that control *does* scale, but in a way that doesn’t require either the efficiencies that are part of a traditional organisational structure or centralised leadership. Sounds like something right out of complexity science don't you think?

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