Equal Air Time - in Social Media & High Performing Teams – Hyper Island North America Skip to content

🌟 Facilitating Better Social Discourse: Turn Taking and Equal Air Time 🗣️💡

David Auerbach's recently published Meganets book is a real eye opener into the implications for a networked society when those mega-networks go rogue. As David B. Auerbach argues, magnets - from Facebook to Amazon to Cryptocurrencies to Fortnite have become semi-autonomous systems working beyond the direct and even indirect control of humans... that have consequences well beyond anything intended by their creators. Amongst the many highlights of the book is the final chapter which offers up some powerful ideas for potentially disrupting the meganets.

In the era of meganets, where information flows abundantly and online discourse often drowns in relentless voices, the need for mechanisms that promote equal air time has never been more crucial. As we grapple with the challenges of toxic social networks and strive for better social discourse, it is imperative to draw insights from diverse sources. Combining ideas from "Meganets" by David B Auerbach, the research by Google Aristotle, and "The New Science of Building Great Teams" by Alex "Sandy" Pentland, we can explore the potential of generating mechanisms of equal air time as an essential factor in defining high-performing teams.

1 - Reducing Conflict through Doubt and Confusion:
According to Auerbach, introducing intentional confusion and doubt in online interactions can help reduce conflict. Challenging the prevailing certainty that often drives people to fiercely argue with one another, cultivating an overall miasma of doubt and confusion can pave the way for more constructive conversations. By sowing the seeds of questioning and encouraging diverse perspectives, we can combat the echo chambers that hinder progress.

2 - Turn Taking: Slowing Down Discourse for Effective Engagement:
In the fast-paced world of online communication, slowing down the speed of discourse becomes paramount. Auerbach suggests enforcing virtual turn-taking, where individuals have limited time and space to speak before their words are pushed to the back of the queue, making room for others to contribute.

3 - This concept aligns with the principles of high-performing teams identified by Google Aristotle
. In such teams, everyone is given equal air time, ensuring that contributions are concise and balanced. When all team members engage with each other energetically and participate in the discussion, the team thrives.

4 - Creating a Fair Discussion Space:
To address the issue of content overload, Auerbach proposes the concept of a cross-service budget, utilizing a virtual currency that limits online activity. By allocating a finite amount of discussion space to each participant, we foster fair participation and prevent the dominance of louder voices. This notion resonates with the need for equal contributions in high-performing teams, as identified by Pentland. When team members have a reasonably equal distribution of energy and engage with one another, the team's performance soars.

As we navigate the complexities of social media and strive for more inclusive and productive conversations, the importance of generating mechanisms of equal air time cannot be overlooked. By implementing strategies inspired by Auerbach's thoughts on doubt and confusion, embracing turn taking, and promoting fair discussion spaces, we can foster a culture of balanced participation and unlock the potential of high-performing teams. Let us embrace these principles and shape a future where diverse voices are heard, valued, and given the opportunity to make a meaningful impact.


Tim Lucas

Head of Hyper Island North America... speaker, learning designer & business leader. PhD in Anthropology.

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