Yesterday I bummed you out with a riff about favors becoming impossible to fulfill. Worth a thought: the alternative, the good news that comes with the bad, is the massive asymmetric gift.
A gift is not a favor, because no recompense is implied or expected. A gift is just from me to you, that’s it.
The internet makes it easy to give gifts to large numbers of people at very very low cost. Editing a wikipedia article, for example, is a gift for the ages, one that might be seen by a million people over three years.
This leads to a new clause in the social contract. In this environment, we expect that civilized participants will give. Just because. Because they can. Because the gift makes all of it work better.
While mass favors have to fade (too easy to ask for, too unfair at scale), mass gifts show up to change the equation. Gifts are easy to scale, now, the more generous, the better. For all of us.