“Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us”
by Seth Godin
After having promised at the launch of my blog that my first article would focus on the book that inspired me to create it, here I am, finally able to deliver, albeit with a slight delay. This article is my seventh, as events such as the holiday season and particularly the death of my father forced me to deal with issues of a different kind before I could address the one that started it all. Of course, it’s better late than never.
So, what is a tribe other than any group of people being brought together around a common idea, concept, task, and inevitably a common leader? Thus, essentially each formal or informal group that you belong to represent a tribe. Your co-workers form a tribe that assembles around a collective goal or a common boss. Just as members of the sports team you belong to represent another tribe. Similarly, members of my blog, in that they all have the common goal of reflecting about life, also form a tribe. Nothing prevents us from being part of several tribes at the same time. However, some are imposed on us while we choose to join others.
So, what does Seth Godin reveal on this subject through his book? Simply that although throughout time people have been eager to join together and unite in communities, it has never been easier and more essential to do so today. He manages to raise awareness of this fact, while using concrete examples and allowing us to better appreciate the means used by these new leaders. Finally, he also demonstrates the importance of all of us getting involved, either as members of a tribe, or even better, as tribe leaders instead of relying on others to take action.
Tribes and technology:
Whatever the organization, our hierarchical society has taught us until very recently that only a select hand full of people were worthy to take on the role of decision makers, mostly according to the responsibilities and titles that they were granted or that they granted themselves. This explains that since the dawn of time, figures in power such as political leaders, business executives or even representatives of the clergies of all religions, have taught us to yield to them and not to question authority (even when they were known to be wrong), and thus to be constantly at their mercy rather than to assert ourselves. This elitist domination was made possible due to people’s inability to express their own ideas or even to communicate among each other. This was the sad reality until the advent of modern technology. In fact, the Internet and social networks among others have utterly transformed everything by providing us with tools, which once mastered, would allow our views to be heard by anyone willing to listen and would facilitate the launch of popular movements when necessary. They even support the creation and management of autonomous nonhierarchical groups where everyone can communicate on equal grounds. Our world is changing, or rather revolutionizing as it is being transformed through new technologies.
Thus, the balance of power and lines of communication continue to shift, to simplify, while allowing the democratization of our societies and organizations. This democratization has settled even in places under authoritarian and dictatorial regimes as we were able to witness in certain Arab countries in recent months. This blog is a great example of the simplicity and power of the Internet in the sense that regardless of where I am, I am still able to communicate with the world using a simple laptop, which in our days is accessible to the masses at low cost. So, the days are certainly over where we could take comfort in our inaction, thinking that in any case it was impossible to truly change anything. This loophole no longer exists. Your only responsibility is to learn to master existing technologies and to keep up with developments in order to “stay in the loop.” (e.g.: Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, smart phones, tablets, etc.). This way you will be able to join the tribe or tribes that represent your interests. Or better yet, maybe you will create your own tribe just as I did.