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Francis S.
Group Organizer
London, GB
Post #: 157
21st Century Network started in April 2007 to engage people on social networks to join in the discussion about the issues of the 21st century. In almost three years this has become more successful than we had dared imagine. Because we developed on various sites like meetup, myspace, linkedin, twitter and others 21st Century Network is essentially a network organisation. It is not a membership organisation with paid up members but a wide web of networkers and engagers from a diverse range of sites and mailing lists. As we grew there was the need to create some organisational structure to it so that we can develop further, raise funds and have limited liability. So the structure that is now emerging is a network structure and is as follows.

Board of Directors – There is a small Board of Directors called GlobalNet21 (as the name 21st century network was already taken). This is a not for profit company limited by guarantee. The idea is to keep this small and only to meet as necessary either face to face or online so to give us financial stringency and our activities limited liability.

Team of Advisors – There is now a team of advisors being formed that will give the Board and the general network advice on matters such as development, diversity and inclusion, fund raising, legal advice, web development and so on. These may meet twice a year but most of the time those on the Team of Advisors will be consulted through online communication.

Team of Coordinators – This is a team of people who have volunteered to develop social action groups or further discussion groups that arise out of the many meetings we have held and issues discussed. This is an important group as they have the key to turning ideas into different forms of action.

Partnership Forum – We are also developing partnerships with many organisations as we develop our activities and these will be included in our Partnership Forum that will exist to see how we can network not just between individuals but between organisations as well.

The idea is to create a network structure where people and organisations are empowered to take part in what we do in the way that they want. It is about thought, enterprise and democracy and yet it is a democracy that reflects the complex nature of our world that is both global and local. It has sometimes been called “netocracy,” which is a net of activity from social businesses to direct democracy and from enterprise to voluntary activity. It can sometimes be local but is often global. It is the convergence of both thought and action through collaboration and discussion that is the essence of netocracy. What we have done is to apply this principle in 21st Century Network though creating a “public square” where people can meet and engage in a variety of different forms so that this convergence can take place.

In many ways this may well be the decisive development in democracy in the 21st Century – the emergence of “network democracy” and it may well eventually shift our politics, organizations and businesses into the direction whereby decisions will be made in favour of society as a whole.

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