An introduction to The Netcrowd – What, just another term for collective action, why?
In my dissertation I am examining and studying new forms of collective action and intelligence on the internet. Due to the new and emerging phenomenon, there is not an established single theory or term for describing it yet. I have coined it as netcrowd (verkkovoima in Finnish) .
In this blog I introduce this netcrowd and some of its distinctive characteristics with some case descriptions and essential sociological theories how they explain this new form of collective action. I also argument a sociological nature of netcrowd and point out some research lines of my dissertation. In my dissertation my aim is to create a theoretical model and rules of mechanisms how these netcrowds emerge, work and vanish after getting its project-like goals.
I have described the netcrowd as: ”a mass of occasional and ordinary people can organize themselves and act very quickly, efficiently, temporarily and globally for shared, concrete and collective goals on the internet without any formal coordination, common beliefs or other social ties or structures.”
This happened for example when Finnish citizens in Finland and Thailand solved the names of the victims of Tsunami (2004-2005), citizens of New Orleans started to track damages of Katrina hurricane and the locations of evacuated people (2005) across the country and internet users in Finland solved the identity of Finnish suicide bomber (2002). Netcrowd has often, but not necessarily, strict social goals, and in some cases it has tried to get an economical benefit to its participators. Some times, the netcrowd has temporarily replaced the officials, like ministries, specially in the cases after catastrophes.