This idea describes a new way of thinking about a set of behaviors (collaboration, mutual aid, and social networking) that have been with us for a long time. It discusses these behaviors in the context of some conditions (instantaneous communications, democratized access to information, very low cost of publishing, global efficiencies of scale, and pressing environmental problems that demand new ways of thinking) that are quite new. These behaviors and conditions, when their utility is properly understood, create opportunities for a new type of actor in the world—a new kind of human: homo nexus.
Homo nexus is a person located within a thick web of relationships—personal, economic, informational, social, intellectual— who tends and maintains these relationships, building trust, reciprocating aid, looking for opportunities to help others succeed. Not out of some abstracted, saintly sense of altruism, but because Homo nexus is highly aware that the success of others creates new opportunities that change his or her own world for the better.
This is self-interest, properly understood.