History and Philosophy

The Google Count on Google Search: Sociocracy Rises

In 2010, I asserted with no evidence what-so-ever that more than 99% of the world’s population had no knowledge of sociocracy. In a world growing even more democratic, the world’s most deeply democratic method of governance was a punctuation mark far off to the left. Someone might have a method of measuring this more precisely, but I have a quick way: Google Search on “Sociocracy.” It may not be scientific but it’s an independent source and any weirdness is at least stable over time. For the Google Count, it’s all relative.

2002 was a big year with 12 hits

When I Googled “sociocracy” in 2002, there were 12 listings. Most were repeats of links to Kees Boeke’s essay, “What Democracy Could Be,” and the Twin Oaks community website with 1 page on sociocracy. There was one listing for the Sociocratisch Centrum in the Netherlands. So 3 websites total.

Today, 17 June 2019 there are 134,000 hits. And they are substantial hits: articles, conferences, videos, links to sites on decision-making, courses around the world, businesses organized sociocratically, consultants, Agile and Scrum sites with articles on sociocracy, etc. Even more encouraging is that much of this material is written and posted by people I’ve never heard of.

It is obviously self-centric to think I ever knew everyone in sociocracy land. But if they were writing and posting in English in 2002, I recognized their names and knew their affiliations. When I thought they were wrong about something, I wrote to clear up the confusion. Now when I read, I wonder who the authors are and where they are. What organization are the affilitated with? More impressive is that I learn new things. (Impressive to me at least.) There are new ideas and new ways of expressing the original ones every time I do a Google Search.

The Breakout Number

From 12 to 134,000 in 17 years may not be impressive when compared to preference voting with 36,700,000 or democracy at 315,000,000. But when Google Search appeared in 1997, sociocracy was starting with one, Gerard Endenburg and his friends, if it was listed at all. Even though there were dozens of corporations, organizations, and schools using the method, they weren’t doing it in English.

Although the Rubik’s cube which was at one page in 1980 now has 32,600,000, it isn’t fair to compare a toy, even a hard one, with a governance method. People who play with toys always played on the internet. The US government still isn’t quite up to speed and I hear others are worse.

What number will be a breakout?

The Numbers

On 2 May 2010, there were 56,000. The even number is a bit suspect and some are probably to the same site, but the difference between 12 and 56,000 eight years later is certainly significant.

Democracy, for comparison, returns 66,900,000 pages. Autocracy, 1,360,000.

2 April 2012: 133,000. Quick climb. It took 8 years to get from 12 to 56,000 and only 2 more years to get to 133,000. The effect of compound interest!

26 July 2012: 33,200. Did they clean up their search? Alta Vista has 27,700 so this is probably a more correct number. Bing has 27,300.

20 January 2012: 32,400. Altavista: 48,700. Bing: 49,900.

19 June 2013: 30,600. Bing: 34,100.

16 March 2014: 34,400. Bing: 23,900. The first result on Bing is the Encyclopedia Britannica article!?! And the second the page to order We the People.  The searches are returning more interesting websites with fewer duplicate results.

4 March 2014: 40,410. Page views are up from 651 in January to 3180 in July. Still no listing on Wikipedia.

2 September 2014: 32,400. Alta Vista, once considered a more selective search engine used by academics, has been bought by Yahoo. It doesn’t display the number of hits. It does something interesting. In the place where there is usually an Ad, it says “Ad related to sociocracy.” No ads.

17 June 2019: 134,000. And they are good hits: articles, conferences, videos, links to sites on decision-making, courses around the world, businesses organized sociocratically, consultants, Agile and Scrum sites with articles on sociocracy, etc. Even more encouraging is that much of this material is written and posted by people I’ve never heard of. The sociocratic world is pretty far beyond that being possible.

2 replies »

  1. Hi Sharon

    I am sure the number of people knowing about it will grow as news gets out about your excellent book.

    I really enjoyed it. I’d never really come across sociocracy as a term before. Although many of the concepts are familiar to me from organisations where I have worked. But the book is a great read, and it’s great to have so many of these ideas written down in a clear, accessible way.

    Good luck with the blog too – not sure why I had to register to simply leave a comment though?

    Thanks
    Pete

    • Thank you for the appreciation of the book. It took 5 years to sort out all the terminology from the Dutch and then place it in the flow of mainstream thought.

      I’m new to blogs and it seemed a good idea to have people register to leave a comment because then I would know who they were. But I’ll try changing that and see what happens.

Leave a Reply