Enjoy forecasting? Seeking a community you can discuss predictions with? Enjoy arguing, en masse, about the course of humanity? Welcome to Facebook.
The California-based social network has become a favorite meeting place for futurists. In the last two months, I've been invited to join multiple Facebook "futurist" groups, and I've happily interacted with four of them. I'm finding it far more convenient and pleasurable to participate in them than my other futurist communities: A yahoo face-to-face monthly Meet-up Group that I rarely attend, and several LinkedIn communities that lack the bright graphics and around-the-world repartee that happens regularly on Facebook.
The four futurist Facebook groups I now belong to are: The Human 2.0 Council (670 members) led by Rachel Haywire, producer of the Los Angeles Extreme Futurist Fest on December 16 & 17, The Singularity Comedy Network (50 members), Humanity + Brazil (187 members), and, most regularly, Alex Lightman's hyperactive page.
Lightman is the author of Brave New Unwired World and he was the recipient of the Economist's Inaugural Reader's Award for Innovation in 2010 for 4G networks. On Facebook, he has the maximum number of 5,000 "friends" that he acquired in "about two years." This five-millennia community is encouraged by Lightman to agree, dispute or add additional info to the assertions and prognostications that he posts. The resulting discussion is so vociferous and enthusiastically voluble that the equivalent of 1,500 pages of text was recently generated in only two days.
I asked him via email why his futurist discussions work so splendidly on Facebook.
Lightman replied, "I respect and provoke people, and seek to raise the bar. My advice to anyone who wants to take social media to the next level is this:
1. Show people how to get meaningful work and how to find teams to do complex, challenging, and profitable projects.
2. Point people towards becoming more healthy, vibrant, and alive.
3. Share suggestions for how people can make money, including but not limited to social media.
4. Think of your social media presence as the host of a dinner party with interesting people. Make people feel comfortable, and raise the bar not he level of conversation so that it will attract smarter, more passionate people.
5. Be careful of being too predictable. Don't repetitively put up quotes, news stories, or simple things - or people will tune you out.
6. Learn about collective intelligence, and seek to solve very complex global problems. There are a lot of brains out there. Put them to work."
Thanks, Alex, for the tips. Perhaps the World Future Society can utilize some of his suggestions? IMHO, the community-building that results with "group-thinking" is swifter and more invigorating than any other platform I've encountered.