: Steven Johnson not only gives some link charity to Spirit of America, he also seems something bigger going on here — good swarms:
But the site makes me wonder whether this isn’t the beginning of a fascinating new chapter in the web’s gift economy. Thanks to the passion of the bloggers themselves, and clustering technologies like Technorati and Blogdex, we’ve already mastered the art of locating and quickly swarming around the week’s hot news item or thinkpiece. (You know the drill: Clay posts a provocative essay about power laws on Monday, and by Friday there are fifty in-depth responses, a dozen fact checks, ten suggestions for future research, and a handful of requests for the Lazy Web.) What Spirit Of America suggests is a version of that swarming directed towards Good Causes: someone halfway across the globe (or halfway across the country, or the county) puts out a call for help setting up a wi-fi network in an under-funded school, or repairing a sewage treatment facility, and within five days they’re flooded with funds, spare parts, technical expertise, and good will. And when the network goes online, or the sewage starts getting processed again, we all get to see the results. (Maybe not so fun for sewage, but you get the idea.) And then we get to move on to the next cause.