The karass lives…
Wednesday, March 26th, 2003
Steven Johnson writes: “in his classic novel Cat’s Cradle, Kurt Vonnegut explains how the world is divided into two types of social organizations: the karass and the granfalloon. A karass is a spontaneously forming group, joined by unpredictable links, that actually gets stuff done’ as Vonnegut describes it, ‘a team that do[es] God’s Will without ever discovering what they are doing.’ A granfalloon, on the other hand, is a ‘false karass,’ a bureaucratic structure that looks like a team but is ‘meaningless in terms of the ways God gets things done.’ … When you find yourself in a karass, it’s an intuitive, unplanned experience. Getting into a granfalloon, on the other hand, usually involves showing two forms of ID. For most of the past 50 years, computers have been on the side of the granfalloons, good at maintaining bureaucratic structures and blind to more nuanced social interactions. But a new kind of software…”
Actually, although I thought he’d perfectly established the trajectory for an article about blogging, Johnson goes on to write about a piece of software the maps social interaction.