Mathew Miller was born in Switzerland, and he spent much of his young life in US embassies around the world. As a child, he lived on nearly every continent and visited over 50 countries. He entered Notre Dame on a sport scholarship, and it was through team sports that he learned his first important lessons in group behavior.
After completing a masters degree in Organizational Behavior at George Mason University, Mathew accepted a position with The Center for Applied Research in Psychology (CARP), where he began research into communities and group-think. While at CARP, he traveled extensively, and wrote dozens of articles and co-authored his first book, "The American Way." He also began speaking and lecturing, delivering as many as 40 addresses each year.
After a few years in the academic community, Mathew says that he felt directionless and started doing some personal soul-searching. While traveling and talking to people who were living in the trenches, Mathew began to feel that he was too far removed from his research. On a fateful summer weekend, his car broke down in rural Virginia, and he accepted a ride from a group of protestors caravanning up to Washington DC. This group hitch-hiked and traveled across much of the country to stare down their political leaders regarding social issues. Mathew reported that he "found in them a raw energy that was difficult to break down into statistical community dynamics and organizational behavioral models." In this two-hour ride, Mathew said he came to grasp his first real impression of "groundswell." Later, these protesters became known as the Proustians, best known today for their Proustian questionnaire. In reviewing this document, Mathew says that he came to truly understand that what binds communities is not their agendas, but their questions.
During a six month leave of absence from work, Mathew began an independent study of political and religious groups of all types and sizes. Six months quickly turned into six years as he purchased an RV and wandered the country, caravanning and cavorting with groups that he met along the way. To document his travels, he began writing poetry in earnest during what became his own "Kerouac years." Today, except for a few published works, these poems remain locked away as Mathew's intimate journal entries. What remains, however, are the insights that he learned from traveling companions about community dynamics, which would remain Mathews passion for the rest of his professional life.
Speaking and lecturing opportunities slowly brought Mathew back from the road into a mainstream publishing and speaking career. As the podium pushed him further and further away from the back row, he slowly returned to his academic roots. He published several articles on "groundswell" and "grass roots" and "early adopters" movements. Later, he self-published his first solo book, "The Cheap Seats" which was well-received in the organizational behavior community.
In recent years, and especially since the dot-com boom, Mathew found himself researching and reporting on the phenomenon of virtual communities. His recent mainstream articles include, "America is Indeed On Line," "Internet Dating for Dummies," and "The Morality Majority on eAffairs." He has also served as a consultant for Microsoft and Time-Warner, and has lectured at Stanford, UCLA, and Oregon State.
Recently, Mathew re-asked the Proustian question, "When and where were you the happiest?" and his answer was, "the Kerouac years." Choosing to take some time off from consulting and speaking, Mathew hopped into a virtual RV and is now caravanning down the Information Highway. In email lists and chat rooms some know him by his online handle, "m2kerouac." On any given day you may find him interviewing and posting and chatting in dozens newsgroups, political groups, and even pet fancier groups.
Do you participate in an online group with interesting dynamics? If so, Mathew wants to know about it, and you may even get some research credit for Mathews next book, which is expected to be the most comprehensive volume yet published on internet group dynamics. If you are interested in supporting this effort, please use our contact page to send Mathew an email?