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Practical Techie – The web is the great mobilizer

The ability to organize and mobilize is the basis of life —the foundation of a civilized world. As the world turns, so it changes how humans’ band together to the point of common interest. In the case of commerce, to the point of sale.

The last 25 years have wrought profound change in the way humans interact and organize; it has left many of us dizzy.

Yet, if understood minimally, this flux can bring many profitable advantages to people who do business through the communication channels of cyberspace. Why? Because the web has become a prime human form of organization. The most dynamic gathering of people in all of history.

Imagine it. The internet makes it possible for over a billion people can converse and work out issues together daily, at almost instant speed.

We see how commodities and bitcoins alter their values at lighting speed through the digital world trade markets. We see almost instant funding for startup companies through virtual crowdfunding maneuvers. We saw historical samples of mass mobilization during the Arab Spring and its geopolitical sequels.

OLDEN — In the old days, only the elite had access to massive organization methods. An army, a political party, a factory, or a corporation all needed substantial capital and consummate expertise. Getting people to gather for a unique purpose required physical space and expensive logistics. 

Organizations needed buildings, offices, meeting rooms, reception areas, and lodging facilities. If the enterprise were a manufacturing firm, it required production lines, specific tooling, heavy machinery, warehousing, trucking, or railroading. If it were a multitudinous endeavor, a thick bureaucracy fell in place, supervisors and crowd bosses needed to exercise control and set direction.

All very time-consuming and expensive.

These days we can mobilize masses through crowdsourcing all along five different time zones during a mere three-hour session on a portable laptop under a mango tree.   Nowadays, we can print out three-dimensional products on a desktop, contact via email some 100,000 clients and move the merchandise globally with a click of a few digital commands. Or, maybe set up a virtual department store, a real estate business, or a digital book publishing firm with a simple connection to a server and a password to the computing cloud, a wireless setup, or Skype. 

Well, it may not be as easy, but almost. Less hectic now than it was for our forefathers when they tried to put together any human enterprise on a large scale. 

We need to know how to do it with the new technologies. But herein lies a problem.

RESEARCH — There are no academies to learn how to provoke the collapse of a government via social media. No university teaches how to organize peers to help create and market online a new type of cybernetic T-shirt. No schools enroll people to schedule an immensely efficient non-governmental group on the Web to help world citizens recycle plastic bottles before they drown us in a sea of waste.

Yet, it’s possible. We need to learn how and practice a lot: Self-learn, the new cybernetic methods of mass organization.

Luckily, the Web itself provides tutorship. Before, it was trial and error. Now it pays and learns from the experts.

One essential tool is knowing how to search what’s on the Web. Learn to navigate cyberspace, and all and anything will appear. We need a few crucial “key” words and knowing which search engine to use.

I say “which” because there is life after Google. In my last count, I estimated over 8,000 search engines online. Some are powerful and generic, others more inclusive and specialized in one type of content. 

One only needs to know this first: a search engine is nothing more than a colossal database. A digital list of things organized in a very algorithmic fashion. This means that one item leads to another, link by link. 

KEYS — That explains why keywords are so crucial. One definition will lead to another infinitely until one finds the information we seek. 

Once we have the correct data on hand, virtual tools, and a purpose, we can mobilize, organize or convoke a vast crowd to a cause. Or at least call attention to a product or service we are selling. Due to its organizational nature, the Web will then provide not only clients but also network partners. Crowds of people we can connect with for any necessary purpose.

So, to become adept, one must practice our web navigation skills. It’s a lonely, silent, and slow ritual, but the benefits to a business can be priceless in the long run. And profitable.

Author Details
Author Rafael Matos is a veteran journalist, a professor of digital narratives and university mentor. He may be contacted at cccrafael@gmail.com.

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