Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Sustainable Silliness

#hohotoOn the left there is a picture from the now-legendary HoHoTO party. It's been on TV, it's been in the papers and all around the blogosphere and back again. A group of near-strangers came together and poured their energy into creating a charitable party. Nobody was in charge. Nobody gave orders. Nobody did anything they didn't want to do. And in a matter of days we raised $25,000.

$25,000.

What you're seeing there on the left is the DJ setup on stage (yes, the DJ is dressed as a Santa elf -- and yes, nobody did anything they didn't want to do -- you can figure out what that means), hundreds of people boogieing their faces off, and up on the wall an enormous screen displays live incoming Twitter messages tagged "#hohoto". Folks are making DJ requests via Twitter, and if you go to Flickr right now and search on "hohoto" you will see hundreds of photos people have posted of the beautiful craziness that ensued.

This is pretty awesome. I blogged before about how the future is looking pretty silly, and I think this is another part of the ongoing sillization of human society. And this is a GOOD thing.

Because while there's boogieing and Twittering and elf-dress-up-as-ing, there's also people having hard times, and current economic conditions aren't making that any better. But when people can come together in joy and silliness, and contribute to helping lessen those hard times, I say the world is getting better. I mean, we don't have flying cars yet, it's true -- but maybe there's more important work we ought to be doing besides flying around in cars. Because as cool as that would be, I'd rather there were less hungry people in the world than more flying cars.

HoHoTO was a tremendous success. It proves (if further proof were needed) that self-organizing groups can accomplish great things. I'm not sure it's a model for social change, but hopefully it will help to serve as an inspiration. The Toronto Twittersphere is all abuzz with ideas and movements and the notion of change and growth, and I truly believe that we're just opening the door to what's possible as the internets begin to realise the next stage of their potential. Somebody in there (might have been remarkk) mentioned the idea of "cells" like Resistance groups organized themselves in: each one self-sufficient and no more than distantly connected to the others, but sharing enough ideals and practices that they can work together to effect enormous change.

We don't need grand schemes anymore. We need tiny ones, but ones that infect others and replicate themselves. And silliness, as YouTube shows us, is pretty damn infectious. And as HoHoTO has shown us, it can deliver actual value to society.

Not sure I need to dress as an elf, however.