Contributing to the Commons in 2020

Posted on: December 6, 2020 - 11:35 By: carl

Our very own Tim McNamara of Rust in Action fame has penned a short piece on Contributing to the Commons in 2020. In it he mentions Clay Shirky describing a vision of how 'companies that embraced sharing and collaboration would win'. Yeah, well, not so much it seems. On the plus side, while these large companies 'use our own interests against us', thanks to open source you can still contribute in your own way as Tim outlines.

This resonates with me because of the comparison with the world The Cluetrain Manifesto showed us way back in the dawn of time (or 1999 IRL). Back then luminaries of the Internet Age signed up to these theses which were supposed to wrest control of our own lives away from 'The Company'... Yeah, well, again, not so much. Yes, the citizens of the world now have far greater access to information than they have ever had, but it is still being manipulated and targeted into demographic silos more than ever before. Do Facebook, Google, Amazon et al. provide useful services... Yes they do. Do they also manipulate your worldview? Absolutely! And not in a very positive fashion in far too many cases.

Interestingly enough, the power is still in your hands. No-one forces you to use FB, Google or Amazon and you can still send a very clear message through your power as an individual and a customer/consumer of services by using one of the many alternatives. If everyone stopped buying through Amazon and purchased directly from the supplier then Amazon would collapse. If you can't do without a particular service then minimise the information that you allow them to collect and use.

Too easy?