The essence of the Web is about linking, sharing and collaboration. Productivity and value creation is driven by cooperation.Humans love the myth of the great individual overcoming overwhelming odds to achieve incredible goals. We seem to need to know that someone is in charge; that someone is leading, directing, managing.
There is no one person in charge of the global economy. In fact, there is no one organization in charge of the global economy. In fact, it could be said that there is no one person truly in charge of any particular national economy.
Maybe in very primitive, simple societies there can be a king who knows all and sees all. But in modern economies such a position is illusionary. The modern world is simply too complex.
There is no one person in charge of language. There is no one person in charge of physics, biology or the other sciences. There is no one person in charge of literature, film making, music, or any of the arts.
When it comes to the things that define us as truly human, there is no one person in charge. We are all in charge of the global economy, of language, of the sciences, of the arts, of the societies we live in.
Sure, there are individuals who have very significant influences on things. But show me anyone who says with certainty that they know the results of their actions, and you are showing me a fool. The world is simply too complex for such predictions.
Who invented language? Who invented fire? Who invented science? Who invented the wheel? Who invented electricity? Who invented computers? Who invented the nuclear bomb? Who invented the Internet? (It wasn't Al Gore.)
No one person invented any of the above. Many minds came together over time. Sure, there are people who can lay claim, at certain moments, to some significant breakthrough. But these people were merely standing on the shoulders of the many thinkers and inventors who came before.
The Web is a network. A network is about links. Links are about connections between people and content. The essence of the Web is about how it makes more and more interesting linkages, and about how these multitude of links create a vast, global brain; a teeming collaborative mass.
The old brain fears the stranger. The old brain thinks that what makes winning sweeter is that others lose. The old brain holds onto what it knows believing that the hoarding of knowledge is power. The old brain is suspicious and constantly on the watch for enemies.
This old brain served us well for millions of years, but that which makes us strong can kill us in the end. The world has changed radically. To collaborate and share is not a sign of weakness. To be open, sure is to be open to attack, but it is also to be open to new ideas, new partners, new opportunities.
Linking is the grammar of the Web. To build links-both within, and to and from your website-is to build roads, motorways, arteries, lines of communication. Thinking linking is thinking collaboration, sharing, cooperation, wealth creation.
Every link that is built on the Web strengthens the Web and strengthens all of us involved in the Web. Nobody is in charge of the Web. We all are. And we all can link.
About the Author
Gerry McGovern, a content management author and consultant
, has spoken, written and consulted extensively on writing for the web and web content management issues since 1994.