Who’s Influencing Who?
Large mental worlds or communities of the mind can coalesce around any number of phenomena (which may or may not be a “work of art”). A wide range of individuals can form an “entire cooperating network” that “radiates out” from the core commonality. This network, though, is invisible (no matter what monitoring devices your using) and is primarily characterized by mental pathways and webs of connection.
With this approach we can even conceptualize communities of the mind that have a commercial or political (or other organizational) purpose as jointly created by those who have deliberately set out to “draw” individuals together and by those who have become connected to the community and to one another within it. For along the mental pathways that connect them may grow all kinds of ideas and emotions that can provide commonalities and a sense of connectedness for these individuals. People with power, money, aims, and agendas can create (or attempt to create) communities of the mind and mental worlds, but the interest, knowledge, sophistication and agency of individuals in these worlds can still create and influence outcomes.
When one is chosen for a demographic reason to be part of a political focus group, for example, one can play a part in the changing of a candidate’s political platform (which can surely have a ripple effect on a large number of people if elected.) The feedback of fans and followers can cause the producers of cultural products to make changes to those products that are then available to a large number of people. The Internet is providing followers of carious phenomena with an unprecedented opportunity to provide others in their mental worlds with direct feedback. In explicit fashion, they are using the mental networks that have been created. And audience members and consumers play a critical role in even highly commercialized communities of the mind.
For many political and corporate organizations this influence from the community has been a link of fear for joining the social revolution on the web. However if nurtured properly the interest, knowledge, sophistication and agency of the community members can change a product or political agenda to adapt directly to their needs and wants consequently giving tact to political or corporate agendas.
Questions of the day –
- Do you know what the interest, knowledge, sophistication and agency of your community members?
- In what ways are you collecting their feedback and are your tactics for collecting this feedback organic and free flowing allowing community members to provide their true thoughts?
- What individuals are set out to draw individuals into your community and who are the people connecting them once they arrive?