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March 9, 2023 85 mins

Imagine if the members of your group chat shared more than memes but also shared a bank account, or if the early users of a social media app helped decide how that app grew, made money, and moderated content. How does the group make decisions and make sure everyone is heard? Who decides how the money is spent? These are some of the questions Friends with Benefits (FWB), a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) has had to answer. Baratunde talks with FWB Mayor Alex Zhang about DAOs, online community-building, and Web3 to find out if the way we citizen online can positively affect how we citizen IRL.

 

SHOW ACTIONS

Internally Reflect - How we shape the spaces we inhabit

Take a moment and think about your relationship to the digital spaces you spend time in. This could be social media, gaming, or a group chat. Where do you feel like an active participant, where you set the terms and tone of the environment? Where do you feel passive, like someone else is  in charge? How might you change that relationship? 

Become more informed - Web3, squads, and digital public spaces

We can create a healthier culture of democracy through web3 beyond starting and joining DAOs. If you’re new to this world, the New York Times’ has a great primer on Web3.

Once you’ve read that, take a deep dive into the history of “Squads”— a form of social and economic organizing that is shifting power and social dynamics away from an individualistic society.

If our conversation with Alex made you curious, check out our episode with Eli Pariser from New_Public. We go deep on how to better design digital public spaces. 

Publicly participate - Sharing power and setting culture in groups

You’re likely a part of a group, a tenants or homeowners association, a parent group, a committee at work. The next time you’re at one of your meetings, take note of how the group makes decisions. Who speaks? Who is silent? What areas are open to input? What is considered off-the-table? Is there even an agenda!? Over time see if you can identify the kind of culture the group has: chaotic? Deferential? 

Can you find any opportunities for the group to make that culture more small-d democratic, by rotating speaking or leadership roles, or openly acknowledging how decisions are made and how that might shift? We don’t need to find new groups and spaces to practice this democracy thing—let’s start where we are.

 

SHOW NOTES

Check out our episode with Taiwan's Digital Minister, Audrey Tang for more on quadratic voting, and our episode with Pia Mancini, cofounder of Open Collective, a platform empowering collectives and mutual aid groups with new transparent, decentralized financial tools.

Read Debt: The First 5,000 Years by David Graeber. 

Find How To Citizen on Instagram or visit howtocitizen.com to join our mailing list and find ways to citizen besides listening to this podcast! 

Please show your support for the show by reviewing and rating. It makes a huge difference with the algorithmic overlords and helps others like you find the show!

How To Citizen is hosted by Baratunde Thurston. He’s also host and executive producer of the PBS series, America Outdoors as well as a founding partner and writer at Puck. You can find him all over the internet

 

CREDITS

How To Citizen with Baratunde is a production of iHeartRadio Podcasts and Rowhome Productions. Our Executive Producers are Baratunde Thurston and Elizabeth Stewart. Allie Graham is our Lead Producer and Danya AbdelHameid is our Associate Producer. Alex Lewis is our Managing Producer. John Myers is our Executive Editor. Original Music by Andrew Eapen and Blue Dot Sessions. Our Audience Engagement Fellows are Jasmine Lewis and Gabby Rodriguez. Special than

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