The Networked Society

In all aspects of life, we are now a networked society.

Over less than two decades we have become so accustomed to online social networks that they are second nature to us now.

News travels over networks where the distinction between individual, professional, business and government institutions are now blurred, and all too often also distorted by automated or nefarious actors. We have become so accustomed to this landscape that we take for granted that it has always been that way and always will be. For most, the idea that we could change how social media works is as unimaginable as going to the moon was six decades ago.

And yet, a rapidly growing number of people are acutely aware of how poorly social media actually meets our needs. From informal groups and workgroups, to businesses, non-profits and associations, to humanitarian efforts to address acute global challenges, we must cooperate and work across heterogeneous networks representing multiple institutions. Those institutions themselves are made up of both ad hoc and formal groups and workgroups with differing levels of privacy, from completely internal, to completely public, with every gradient in-between.

While we still talk about "online information" what we actually have instead is emotionally provocative content.

In many domains, starting with the current COVID crisis, we literally need a new way of “thinking together”, of collectively and collaboratively engaging in a deliberative process and then disseminating the outcome of that across society at large. This is not going to happen by accident. It's a design problem.

The best mechanisms for discerning fact from fiction that our society has evolved are scientific publishing and journalism. Both of these domains of professional inquiry rest on reputation and agreed standards of proof. Both have come under serious pressure as the velocity of online information has been both accelerated and degraded to the point where much of the population has little access to, or awareness of, either real journalism or science.

Everything we do now depends on information networks, but the internet has been taken over by advertising algorithms.

That has created perverse incentives where the major platforms sell your attention and feed you more and more provocative content to keep you scrolling to earn more ad revenue. Social media as currently constructed not only degrades our collective grip on reality, it does not actually serve the needs of most businesses, much less networked organizations or social movements. It has become a noisy and distracting house of mirrors where nobody can focus and pay attention to much of anything real for very long.

All organizations, whether a mission driven non-profit, a broad-based social movement, or a large for-profit business seeking to build a brand based on customer engagement, are not actually well served by the current state of social networks on the Internet.

We need a completely new form of social purpose media that can actually serve the functional needs of organizations and groups to operate within and across networks. Tru is designed to do that.