Weaving in Public: Connecting people and interests

Placeholder for a possible Best Practice. This is based on how I do a lot of Advocacy activities e.g. relating to the Fediverse.

Weaving in Public

This practice is related to Learning in Public: The fastest way to learn.

Whether learning or advocating, while navigating the web we go through tons of resources, join communities, participate and react to other people’s articles and comments. One thing is certain: eventually you’ll suffer information overload. There’s ways to manage, try to bring order to chaos, like Digital Gardening. But it is a very time-consuming and boring exercise. Copying and pasting links, quoting text, attributing people and making additional notes…

There’s a lot of information that is only potentially useful, and people you meet who you could potentially collaborate with… if they are willing to. Not all side-tracks found on your information discovery quests are equally important, though, at least not at the moment you encounter them. Is it worthwhile to maintain your digital garden for them? In many cases most likely not. But there is another way, that allows to optimize mutualism and maximize the synergy you get from that.

Weaving in Public: Always grab the opportunity to make people aware of other people’s work, when they align with your own interest.

It is a very simple practice, and won’t cost you much time. You start to “weave” when you read something of interest, but it is not something you want to follow up on right now. Maybe much later. Then, if possible, you chime in and mention someone else that is doing something similar. And you move on with what you were doing before.

While you are doing this, gradually you leave an inter-connected web of links, give other people the opportunity to broaden their perspective, collaborate with others. This may happen at any time without your interference. By weaving you plant seeds of opportunity. And opportunities will come and seek you out, because you create the interconnections.

Weaving in public:

  • Shows others you are interested in a subject.
  • Strengthens bonds within your own network.
  • Increases the likelihood of future collaboration.
  • Unburdens you from digital gardening yourself.
  • Helps create your own luck.

While there is self-interest to weaving in public, it is a win-win-win situation. If nothing comes from it you may have at least helped some other people. If someone reaches out to you, there may be an opportunity for collaboration, or you just hold off but do some more “weaving” to help the person. The opportunity may re-emerge in the future.

When mentioning this practice in the chatroom @mayel referred to the Japanese concept of Nemawashi, which is along the same lines:

Nemawashi (根回し) in Japanese means an informal process of quietly laying the foundation for some proposed change or project, by talking to the people concerned, gathering support and feedback, and so forth. It is considered an important element in any major change, before any formal steps are taken, and successful nemawashi enables changes to be carried out with the consent of all sides. […] it is often translated as “laying the groundwork”.

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The Power of Pull

“How Small Moves, Smartly Made Can Set Big Things In Motion”.

“The Power of Pull”, a term that is taken from this book by John Hagel III, John Seely Brown and Lang Davison’s, published with the same title:


(source: Deloitte US, “Transforming Business With The Power Of Pull”)

Just made a connection to “Weaving in Public” approach with the book. I think if everyone in a community dedicated to Weaving, that the Power of Pull naturally happens.

A place where everyone weaves is the forge federation movement, which are organizing as:

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How is this related to Social Bookmarking?

I found weaving people into the movement has been a challenge. For example ActivityPub’s forum had a link to Bluesky’s discord so of course a number of us are in there. Yet, when I created a Discord for unofficial gathering to helpfully collaborate with other developers who use the platform daily, my reply & a post were taken down.

Corporations succeed because they reach their desired audience & go to where they are to demonstrate measurable benefits. Unless elitism is cut out, weaving in the public will mean people disconnecting from their familiar, only to return to where they had come from. Instead of being part of the movement while being comfortable transitioning at their own paces.

As a professional weaver it frustrates us to not be able to bring our best results to light because tribal othering makes it impossible to be effective enough to feel as though our help is better of directed elsewhere. So hopefully, the gatekeepers stop getting in the way of community building.