Open Future NZ "Your useful common includes your community and your memberships and your networks."

Building Your Useful Common

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We learn most easily from people who are "like us", those people who share our common.

The Useful Common
The useful common you know best is rooted in your family.  There lies a source of free advice and support and help that's readily available to most of us.  We expand the common of family relationships to include people in our immediate social circle, to those we know and work with.  City and government services may extend the "common" you can easily access by providing services and advice.  The "common" teaches you about the world and about how to make progress in that world. 

Getting the Job Done
Typically when we need to do something, we ask members of our "common" to recommend the best way to proceed.  People may offer to help. They may come themselves to offer time and skills, or to get us a "mates rate" deal through a friend or suggest someone else to talk to.  We all know and trust this process.

The Limits of Your Common
But the members of your common can only offer you what they have, or what they know.  There is usually a quite restrictive limit to the amount of help available.  What your close friends can offer is likely to be much like the things you already have.  There are distinct advantages in building a extended common from which you might seek help and support. 

The Extended Electronic Common
Today it's possible to become a member of interest groups and communities of practice of every possible kind, where help and advice is freely shared.  This began with email list-servs and bulletin boards, but today's online social networks are even more valuable and effective.  But there are costs of membership.  You need to join.  You need to behave like a member.  You may need to learn some new rules of online etiquette in order to be recognized as a "member".  People become very skilled at recognizing real members from freeloaders.  If you are seen to be a member by other people, you will be able to access all kinds of help and support.  Pay your dues by offering support to others. 

The members of the "common" meet to share ideas and make decisions.

Tribal Meeting

There are strong limits to the sort of help and advice the people who live in any common can offer each other. 

The common you live in has that problem too. 

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