The Reading List: We-Think by Charles Leadbeater


This book is fabulous, I want it to be my new best friend it's that good.

We-Think, by Charles Leadbeater, published in 2008 (my copy 2009) and about using the web as mass innoation is, slightly, out of date. With the speed that the internet moves it must be difficult to write a book on how we use the internet and not expect it to stay as relevant as the day the idea was formed.


I mentioned this book briefly when I wrote about Brexit (here), and how Leadbeater highlights how we can use the internet collectively, be it through Wikipedia, I love Bees, or Grateful Doe, those links are deliberately both wiki links. The whole book brings examples of how we use the internet and encourages us to think about how we use the internet, how and what we share and the impact of our own online spaces. What I found really fascinating, and have been thinking is how blogging falls into that.

As bloggers we have no editor to tell us that we cannot, or should not post what we do. Blogging becomes a way for an individual to have their voice heard, to start a blog and discuss personal events, activities, and a world view. There is no quality control, but there is peer judgement.

This (potentially) anarchic and personal activity has been adapted to suit capitalism and consumerist culture. There is a theme to blogging; numbers are important and goals to be gifted free shit in return for some positive words. Obviously companies are not going to hand out free things to those that can only say "it was ok/it was a bit rubbish', that would be bad PR, when gifting things is about increasing sales.

Obviously this isn't true across the board, there are blogs on slow living, on conscious living, that we should consume as little as possible. Travel blogs and 'experience is better than possessions' blogs. There are books blogs and art blogs and creative blogs, but the common theme is that once you get big numbers, a whole new world is opened up where you do get free things, free experiences. The machine pulls you in and the blogger can end up another way to sell a product, a way to appeal to the everyday man.

I don't know, you guys. I'm aware that actually, probably none of that makes sense, but it makes me think. We-Think makes me think, and that's a good thing. It's a book that I know I'm going to come back to time and time again, because there are sentences and paragraphs that are important.

Disclaimer: I don't think reviewing things/experiences is bad as a blogger, I think it's just the way it is, we are individuals, as are our blogs, as are our opinions.

BooksErin Veness