Swarmwise: What Is A Swarm?
A Swarm is a new kind of organization, made possible by available and affordable mass communication. Where it used to take hundreds of full-time employees to organize 100,000 people, today that can be done — and is done — by somebody in their spare time from their kitchen.
There are many misconceptions about what a Swarm is. Let’s begin by dispelling what it is not.
It is not an amorphous cloud of equals, where nobody gets any decision power. While this would be an ideal society to some, it is not a Swarm.
Neither is it a traditional hierarchical organization where commands are issued top-down and people are expected to follow them. A Swarm may look like this from the outside, but that’s not what it is.
Rather, it is a scaffolding set up by a few individuals that enable tens of thousands of people to cooperate on a common goal in their life. These tens of thousands are usually vastly diverse and come from all walks of life, but share one common goal. The scaffolding set up by one or a few individuals allow these thousands of people to form a Swarm around it and start changing the world together.
This scaffolding doesn’t appear very complex. At its simplest, it is just a means to communicate and discuss the issues the Swarm wants to make a change on, like a forum on a server. The complexity comes with the meritocracy that makes up how the Swarm operates and decides on courses of action as an organism.
As all the people in the Swarm are volunteers — they are there because they think the Swarm can be a vehicle for change in an area they care about — the only way to lead is by inspiring others through action. The founder of the Swarm has a great deal of initial influence in this manner, but he or she is far from the only one. In a typical Swarm, you will find that people inspire one another across all levels and all geographies, with the only common factor being the overall goals of the Swarm that every particular individual chooses to follow.
Significantly, focus in the Swarm is always on what everybody can do, and never what people cannot or must do. Continue reading