Squishy Smartmob

I’ve never been much of a site promoter. You know, building up a high-volume following on the web. If I wanted to get a high hit count, I’d say and do a lot of things differently on my site. No, I’d rather have a select group of contacts on the web who I see as online friends. I guess my online MBTIis different than my real world MBTI.

But if I wanted to build a large online readership and if I were successful (a big “if” indeed), I’d want to do stuff like pamie does. Recently she used her internet fame to help a library that’s strapped for cash and her readers responded fabulously. In fact, you can still get on that particular bandwagon if you wish.

This is the most exciting thing about the internet — that it can be used to motivate and mobilize without the organizational overhead of most grassroots movements. Leveraging one’s influence on the internet to create altruistic smartmobs is too cool for school.

As a futurist, I’ve been kind of half tracking and half rooting for Pamie as a lead indicator for a potential emerging trend — people who get famous on the net and then leverage that fame into real life. Matt Drudge kind of fits that bill but he had a big scandal to help him out. Pamie, if she can hit it big in L.A. after all, would be the first I know of who’s gone bigtime from the web on her own merits. For instance, Her recent book is derived from her hilarious popular online diary in the 1990’s (Which is why you can’t find it in her site archives anymore. Buy the book you cheapskate!) and it’s a good guess that the majority of readership will be former online readers. If she can sell the script, who knows?

And so, as a futurist, I’m monitoring another emerging trend — virtual activism. Groups like pamie’s readers crystallizing around an issue or cause and mobilizing spontaneously in a way that spans geographic, socioeconomic, racial, and other barriers. And in a way that gets real world results. So I read pamie regularly. Not just as a fan, but with an eye toward the Internet’s best future.

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