This is a post trying to introduce a new way of creating social coherence. One of the most current drivers for me to investigate this area is the need to build shared understanding beteween people and organisations. I would love to see more tools for bridge-building.
I have been thinking a lot about how ideas spread and patterns of the internet.
Lately, the internet has morphed into what Douglas Rushkoff describes as viral media. That is manifested in all these short memes that are circulating effortlessly on social media spaces in a fasion similar to the pattern of how a virus reproduces in our cells.
Messages get under our mental skin through easily recognizable images and cultural references with certain verbal and non-verbal messaging embedded in them.
We then reproduce, share and internalize these messages and these images spread like wildfire across our fragmented and zero attention-span oriented platforms.
I have a great love of fungi and during the last few years of delving into their secrets I’ve learned that fungi actually are extremely important for the functioning immune systems of organisms and ecosystems.
So what could the immune system response to these viral attacks of memes that we unconciously (or as shown by the Cambridge Analytica revelations, also conciounsly) launch at each other.
What could a fungal approach to spreading of shared understanding be?
I propose the concept of an #IdeaHypha.
A fungal hypha is sent out from a mushroom spore as it “germinates” where it has landed. The hypha is a small, single celled thread that moves out looking for another hypha of the same species in order to merge with it and become mycelium, a full fungal organism.
The analogy here is that ideas are sent out and hopefully germinate with at least two people that then connect to build shared understanding and become coherent together.
It could be useful to formulate a format around this in order to make it easily used by many people. The popularity of things like TED talks and PechaKucha are testament to the usefulness of standard procedures.
With #IdeaHypha, we can try to encapsulate an idea into a video recording (max 20 min) which we then send into the world as an invitation to collective sense-making.
The invitation also contains an invite to a 40 minute group roundtable where up to 8 people join an online video conversation and go around the group sharing perspectives on the topic presented in the invitation for 5 minutes each. The invitor goes last in the round.
As a, version 0.1, trial I propose the following information is provided in the IdeaHypha:
- Topic (possibly as sub-topic)
- Video introduction (max 20min)
- Sheduled Date/Time for online meeting
- “Specific invite” or “first come, first serve”
- Open (recorded and shared) or Closed meeting
- Link to meeting room
- (optional) link to post-meeting discussion thread
- (optional) further reading / more context
Evolving the concept
My hope is that this would enable shared understanding and coherence in a more grounded and thoughtful way than what emerges from sharing these one-image memes.
Any social network that enables sharing of video where we could also tag on the required meta-information above (like time/date, etc.).
A variation of this concept could be a #RelationHypha which would be the same thing without the topic, basically a popularizing and packaging of sharing circles to another audience.
A #SolutionHypha could focus on problem-solving and I am sure there can be many more.
This concept builds on my prior exploration of how the internet utilizes and enables fungal principles.