Mindapples is coming along nicely (hence my silence here - sorry, too many blogs...), and whilst explaining the project to people I keep finding myself pushing the concept of 'behavioural publishing'. So I thought I'd better think out loud and try to explain what I mean. Mindapples asks a question that people want to know the answer to, and gives them a platform to share their answers in public. The idea is to encourage everyone to take more care of their minds, simply by publishing what people are already doing. The site doesn't help you 'do' anything in a practical sense. All it does (or at least will do once we've built a better website) is publish the behaviours that we want to see more of. And I think that, simply by publishing these behaviours, we can create more of them.
As well as helping us practically to perform tasks, the web can also give us the inspiration to do things that we didn't previously feel were possible. For example, School of Everything provides a set of tools to help people organise their learning and find new students near them. But as my friend Stowe says, "the presence of the tool implies a permission to behave in a certain way." By building a website that helps everyone become a teacher, we want to show everyone that they have something to teach. Or to use another example, Flickr doesn't help you take photos, but by publishing the photos of millions of photographers it gives us all permission to be a photographer too.
So if there is a behaviour you want to encourage - be that social care, photography, knitting or democracy - rather than leaping straight into building complex tools to help people do it, why not find where it's happening already and share it with the world? If you can rally the people together who want it to happen and tell their stories, maybe they'll build the tools for you.