There’s a practice among foraging cultures called “social sharing“: when somebody scores big with the hunting & the gathering, they share all of it with the group.
Nomads don’t have a way to store or transport food, so it would just go to waste if it wasn’t eaten. This reciprocity then covers their asses later when they’re not having any luck and another member of the tribe makes a kill.
Social media communities like the interactive marketing professionals I follow on Twitter also have a formally informal sharing ethos, similarly crucial to network coherence & growth. We take what’s no use if stored—goodwill, news, how-to’s on the latest Facebook changes, inspiring marketing, artwork you can use in blog posts—and feed it to the whole tribe, so that they may be sustained and we will be included when they’ve got rare winter berries.
We have the same reciprocal obligation and the same enculturation of generosity. We get together annually (SXSWi, anyone?) in what are called among foragers bilevel organizations, which dissolve back into small, far flung units before all the local resources are used up (Austin’s beer supply).
It’s nice to be part of a tribe