When you’re looking for an icon to blame for the idea of rising underground movements, it’s hard to get far before you run into Fight Club. In either it’s book or movie form, the story of “Jack” and Tyler Durden, stalwartly stumbling into guerilla revolution through near-psychotic boxing matches so well the curves of social media and other groundswell changes in the last decade, it’s easy to see the correlation from certain angles.
Which angles might those be? These:
The underground tends to rise up.
The long tail (the idea of fast mass-adoption, followed by tapering acceptance) is exactly matched by a userbase curve. Look at the rise of Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and other location games. Once the flood begins, there’s no real way to stop if until mass adoption sets in. In some cases, this means rabid over-use by companies trying to make a buck. In others, it’s calm resignation of a societal change. The really fun part is trying to tell the difference between the two.
Tyler Durden is a great man.
There’s always a figurehead. Comcast has Frank Eliason and Comcast Cares. Dell has Lionel Menchana. The rest of social media has – well, dozens of people, depending on your circle. there’s always a charismatic early adopter waiting to show us the way. An Apostle in the wings, taking on Disciples as they go. It’s an important process. What’s even more important, however, is the point at which Tyler – our intrepid figurehead – gets the funding he needs to sink back into the crowd, continue to do the work, and leave further evangelisation to the Disciples oon their own road to the Apostolic Shift. But only if they buy in.
You choose your own level of involvement.
This is, perhaps, one of the most critical aspects of groundswells, because so few people seem to display an understanding of what it means. You can opt in, give yourself to the game, and benefit. You can also opt out, and remove yourself, to find other kinds of benefits – often less plentiful, but perhaps more fitting to your needs. the third choice is to ignore the movement, which is very hazardous, because –
Things happen without us – even when we’re there.
Especially if you’ve seen the movie, you know about cigarette burns. The reel changes, the stream evolves, and whether you’re with it or not, something’s different. Perspective adjusts. Ever lose track of a conversation you were having with someone else, only to realize far too late you were arguing about the same point from different angles, rather than disagreeing on something? The dissociative split that happens when we unintentionally opt in or out of something is like this. The game goes on, whether we’re participating (or boycotting) with intention. Not paying attention to which side of the fence you’re on, or even that there is a fence, is a hazard not worth risking.
What’s the take-away?
Like all communal endeavours, groundswell social movements require a measure of intention to navigate. Presence media – beyond just social media – is a communal endeavour at its core, a societal dance requiring navigation. Even chosing to leave the party must be a choice, not a somnambulation. Jack saw the danger of his sleep-walking – its name was Tyler Durden.
What’s the name of your sleep-walk?