What is METACAUGS? Many things… It’s first use was just as a label that was sufficiently ambiguous and undefined. The reason this was needed was that we wanted to start collaborating in an open way together, but to name what we were doing would be to define it and thus limit it. The name METACAUGS does have meaning, but this meaning is something that is also evolving and being co-created.

One way METACAUGS manifests is as a co-learning network that’s using Slack as it’s virtual hub.

The purpose of what we are doing is to 1) Gain a deeper understanding of the world: to learn how technology, environment and economy are changing at an accelerating pace 2) Think about what the consequences are for societies 3) Figure out how we can contribute in a positive way 4) Discover which skills we need in order to contribute effectively 5) Practice and develop these skills (using a peer-to-peer based methodology).

This space is not just about reading and talking, but also and foremost about ‘learning by doing’. (Please feel free to edit this Guidebook to make it better)

How to proceed?

  • Slack has channels on the left-hand side, you are already a participant in some by default. Head to the #Introductions channel to introduce yourself. Don’t forget to tell us what your expectations are for this network: What are your projects? What do you want to learn? How did you find your way here? Who do you recognize?

  • Talking about Slack, it’s worthwhile to familiarize yourself with this tool. For instance, learn how to filter the information streams on your mobile/laptop/desktop. If you feel lost, head to #Questions or #Lounge and express that.

  • The #announcements channel contains the practical stuff, such as when our events are happening and how to get there. All of our shared resources are pinned in this channel. Have a look through them and add yourself. This document provides details on how to get access to most everything we share.

  • #Whiplash_discussion is about the book we’re currently reading, written by Joi Ito and Jeff Howe. #Lexicon is about the Lexicon we are co-creating on Metamaps and GitHub. You will find summaries on GitHub for of the chapters we already discussed. In a previous series we discussed the book “Thank You for Being Late” by Thomas Friedman, these discussions are now a useful background. The New York Times has this review of the book.

  • #InFOOD is the place we go to get in the practice of sharing the media that we’ve consumed with each other. We use the the :knife_fork_plate: Slack reaction to signify this.

  • Since part of our exploration will involve making decisions together, we have a #decision-making channel.

  • Don’t hesitate to ask around if you need help with Slack. There are many more channels. Each have a “purpose” specified, so have a look through them from time-to-time. (They continue to evolve)

  • Once a week we meet online and discuss the writings of relevant authors, experiment with tools and platforms, and have meta-discussions about the past week and our work. For now, the meetings are held Sunday evenings - 9 pm Brussels time and 3 pm EST. You’ll find the link to GoToMeeting in the #announcements channel and on our shared Google calendar. Check your audio and video and preferably use a headset. Recordings will be made available afterwards and before the meeting starts there is a chapter summary that gets shared for the book we are currently reading together. (If you add yourself to this map of ours we can sort through time-zone issues)

  • We encourage you to familiarize yourself with Metamaps for general mindmapping about our project(s) and for creating a lexicon, and with GitHub for both blogging and the lexicon too. While GitHub may seem intimidating, we’ve tried to make it relatively easy to use. Also, GitHub is a very important example of a platform for collaboration so it’s worthwhile to experiment there. There is a #Metamaps and #Lexicon channel if you have further questions. Here is a video tutorial for Metamaps.

  • Hackmd is a nice way to prepare documents for GitHub or other places. Just like on GitHub the texts are written in markdown - think of it like a simple version of html (it can be converted into html). There are many cheatsheets for markdown and there is one integrated in hackmd (the question mark above your text input field).

  • Your blog posts will be part of our Metacaugs blog on GitHub. To create a post you will need to create a new file on this page. Be sure to read the file with simple but necessary instructions.

  • We are experimenting with many tools and platforms. If you get overwhelmed, focus on the essential ones and just create in the way that feels right for you. Think about #working-out-loud, and join us in the #lounge :)


Get on Slack, start reading, participate in the weekly meetings, do some writing and mindmapping using tools such as Metamaps, GitHub, Hackmd, learn something new, work out loud, and let’s find out how we can make the world a better place.

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