The Follow Group, A Science Fiction Story
November 2, 2009
The Follow Group, by Adrian Perez
Allenbi teetered down the dune face, leaving little sand craters in his wake. He brushed the paint from the ceremony off his face. It was dry and caked on his forehead. A dome loomed in the distance.
The dome was a silvery white, covered in canvas. It was his communal home with a few of the Follow Group he was in. A lot of people started following him on Twitter about a year ago. This tiny horde came to live with him in the past few months as the economy declined.
Allenbi looked around the large central room. On the circumference of the dome were little cubbies with people tucked away, inspecting the outside word with laptops. In the middle of the circle were a few tables with some board games on them. Every once and a while, when their minds exhausted, people would crawl out and pull chairs around one of the games.
His computer winked at Allenbi. It had found something relevant. The event was tagged red, so it was something pretty bad. Allenbi’s group used an algorithm that measured the rate of expansion of an idea or observation.
Socially important events were the ones so obvious that they expanded quickly. Adoption into the Zeitgeist takes a combination of emotion and ease of transmission. The internet was self-improving ease all the time with better communication tools. Allenbi’s Follow Group primarily worked on the emotion part.
He ran over to the computer, but his friend Rick summarized before he got there, “Revolution in Iran. Again. But this time protestors invaded mosques and began to pray.”
“No violence? Where is the military?” Allenbi asked.
“The police are confounded by the outpouring of religiosity. But the praying is acting as a strike,” Rick answered.
“Hrm…Alright. Let’s do a translation,” Allenbi commanded.
The group shifted around in their cubbies to start getting focused. In all, there were twenty-six people in the dome besides Allenbi. There were three more than twenty-four for the sake of redundancy. Just in case any of them got sick or tired.
For the past couple of months, Allenbi had been training the group in twenty-four types of communication in order to get the world to tip the way they agreed it should.
“I’m having a hard time writing Wisdom, anyone want to take it?” Alexandra looked over at Allenbi.
“Yeah I’ll take it,” Allenbi nodded and spoke to the rest of the group, “Is anyone else having a hard time? Switch if you need to.”
A few people switched. Allenbi started translating the incoming news into Wisdom. He took every tidbit that was coming live from Iran and spoke about it in the context of what was the wise thing to do. His prose came out as advice, contextualized in history garnered from Wikipedia.
In th other cubbies each person was doing the same thing, but with a different mode of communication designed to target a different audience of strengths. Rick worked primarily on Creativity, and as such he was characterizing a slew of possible worlds coming out of the action in Iran. Janice worked on critical thinking and tried her best to coldly and systematically document every piece of information without bias. The others toiled with their assigned strengths.
The Follow Group’s vision was a peaceful and technologically aided world. So each of their arguments headed toward the conclusions of peace, love, and understanding.
“I’m getting traction,” Janice yelled to the others. She usually was the first to pick up Net traffic because she could belt her writing out fastest.
“Me too!” Rick jumped up in delight. This was incredibly good news because they could get Creatives involved early and amplifying their direction.
Over the course of the next few hours they started to turn the world conversation. They had the edge against the pundits because their diverse set of voices were surgically precise. The group guided the pundits into following and amplifying their cause.
By the end of it, violence was curtailed, and the leaders on the ground that preached peace, respect, and reason were getting heard properly. Everyone in the group exhaled a collective sigh of relief, stepped out of their cubbies, and crowded around the board games.