Em. Leadership and the Grid Blog [updated]

[UPDATE]: Bob Carlton of The Corner is suggesting a Pentecost Grid Blog

“So this Pentecost – how about we set our sights on trying to link at least 120 bloggers encircling the globe in a grid blog to post, cross comment and chat about how what Jurgen Moltmann calls ”the shy member of the Trinity“ is moving in our communities and in our lives.”

Email him if you are interested.

[ORIGINAL POST] We have been discussing leadership in the emerging church and leadership on the internet. Obviously there are some parallels here. Thanks everyone for those great comments on the previous post “Mixing Our Wineskins?”. In my final comment, I suggested

that understanding leadership on the internet will help us understand leadership in any dynamic, unpredictable, chaotic, emergent environment or organism.”

Obviously we are seeing parallels between open source software, gift economy, scale free networks, and what we are experiencing in emergent people movements and organizations. One example comes to mind – Grid Blog.

A great example of emergent leadership on the blogosphere, in particular among theoblogians, was the Advent Grid Blog in 2003. I have been credited with inventing this one [Elvis voice “thank ya very much”] along with Jordon Cooper, and probably Bob Carlton who ended up taking a leading role. But actually, it was another Kiwi- Steve Taylor – who came up with the idea based on the world’s first Grid Blog a week earlier.

This image was given to us to inspire us in our grid blogging.

Some of us participated in that earlier Grid Blog – myself included. The idea was to have everyone give a blog post on the same day on the same subject, and put a symbol [ :: ] on the title that would allow Google to call them all up together. A good experiment in being FOUND and AGGREGATED together. And it still works.

The Advent Grid Blog was being organized before the world’s first Grid Blog actually happened. If we wanted to, we could have easily rallied the troops and beaten the first team to the finish line. But that would be ethically appalling, wrong beyond words, unthinkable. And in fact, none of us thought that. Instead, we participated in the original Grid blog and enjoyed being a part of blog history.

And the Advent Grid blog, based around the Christmas celebrations, was also a great success and inspiring collaboration. It was great to see leadership ’emerge’ and then shift to where it needed to go, every step of the way. Innovation was pushed out to the bloggers. Organization was based on theme and getting aggregated together. The event not only brought bloggers together in a new way, but it also gave the world an artistic and poetic gospel presentation for the Christmas season.

Check it out now – type [grid blog :: advent] into your search engine and follow the links. Make sure you include those brackets. Then try [grid blog :: advent 1] and [grid blog :: advent 2]

The Advent Grid Blog, in my opinion, is a classic example of how leadership can be dynamic, fluid, innovative and yet sensitive, and of course function sucessfully on the internet.

I would be interested to see what parallels and lessons we can apply to our organizations from the Grid blogging experiments.

[UPDATE]: here are some links i found:

steve’s blog post,

P2P theology and grid blogging

P2P theology (PDF)

Bob’s definition from his email:

Grid blogging aims to investigate the potentials of a distributed media production model spread across blogosphere nodes. It seeks to ignite attention on specific topics at set times through variegated voices, a kind of decentralized flash mobbing for the mind, if you like. Decentralization is key here – unlike single collaborative blogging structures that unite discussions under the same URL, Grid blogging is about synchronized guerrilla publishing attacks carried out across a series of online locations.  It respects and heightens the individual voice within a media-wise choir. It allows for idea-jamming
and mosaics of diverse perspectives to emerge unfettered.


Andrew Jones launched his first internet space in 1997 and has been teaching on related issues for the past 20 years. He travels all the time but lives between Wellington, San Francisco and a hobbit home in Prague.


  • steve says:

    I, as the “littleskinnykiwi” have always been happy to stand in your shadow, be confused with you, oh “tallskinnykiwi”
    you may be interested to know that I presented a paper on “grid-blogging” in relation to the construction of “virtual theology” just last month. it brought back many happy memories of the grid blog. like you, i think it is an example of “seeding” leadership on the internet. but only one example of many ways of leading.
    steve 🙂
    [andrew] hi steve
    here are some links i found:
    steve’s blog post
    P2P theology and grid blogging
    P2P theology (PDF)

  • ben says:

    i want to be your friend

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