Bland communities are not communities

May 4, 2007

Juha just commented on my Digg post and asked about what I thought the whole thing means for museums. I started replying and then thought I might do a post instead.

I think the most obvious thing is that the Digg scenario adds weight to many of the arguments we’ve had already. Most obviously, community can be very powerful when it happens for real, and this power is exhilarating – and terrifying – all at the same time.

The question this raises is important: Can you imagine a situation in which a museum’s community became anything like as motivated, powerful, outspoken and listened to as that of Digg’s? Does anyone care enough about what museums do and say to get this motivated? Will there ever be a scenario when our community – not our internal funders and stakeholders – dictate our approach to copyright and IPR? Would we want this?

We obviously have different audiences and exapectations and a complete landscape of authority and integrity which will continue to define how we act and what we do, and this is in some sense a good thing. BUT…the biggest fear – or my biggest fear – is that what we do scratches at the surface, gives lip-service to some sense of community but is actually just a bland, dull reflection of what it could be.

I think we’re being challenged, big-time. Will we rise to it?