how do you think the coming insurrection is going to go?
I've probably used this example before, but it's apt. Compare the US elections in 2004 and 2008, specifically the effect of a smear campaign like Swiftboat veterans for Truth vs Kerry, and everything which was thrown at Obama. How come lies and disinformation were so sticky in 2004, but not so much in 2008? I think a large part of this was due to YouTube, which only launched in 2005.
It's already hard for me to remember, but if you wanted to get video online pre-YouTube, it was a major pain-in-the-ass. If you had something explosive or interesting, then you could link your friends, sure.. but if it became popular your website would crash. So in that environment, when you have disinformation placed into television adverts, the only rebuttal which can develop spontaneously is a chain-letter or blog post -- neither have the persuasive power of video. During 2008, user-generated video played a massive role... from cellphone video, to rebuttals, to montage clips of Sarah Palins idiocy. Blogs with scoops were regularly splashed on the news networks as each tried to demonstrate how "with it" they were. If blogs/citizen journalism were producing similar scoops in 2004, I certainly wasn't aware of it.
I'm stressing the point here, because I think it is a major one -- for the first time in recent (perhaps all) history, truth and facts were trumping fiction in politics. The Dok has a point of course -- we've slipped backwards since then as participation and excitement in the political process has waned.
But amazing things did happen, especially because it was all unplanned and uncoordinated - it was pretty much just emergent from simply being able to spread video easily.
I think with a little design we can do a lot better. We can make it easier to participate and we can amplify the effect of that action. At no point in our history has it been easier to form a group, and to have that group collectively reach towards a goal. Every step technology takes makes this even easier.
It's an inevitability from our change from a one-to-many to a many-to-many communication species.
With projects like Metagovernment
, we will create parallel shadow-governments. Leaderless experiments in collaborative decision-making. We will demonstrate the superiority of this approach by documenting all decisions we make, and comparing them against the failures inflicted upon us by our barely elected leaders. Hindsight is 20/20, and we'll make sure to promote those instances when we made a hard choice in the past which now is seen as the obvious should-have-done. We'll make pretty fucking graphs. When we fail we'll tweak the algorithm until our success rate improves. When we succeed, we'll tweak our methods to see if we can do better. We'll have "Click here to register your vote" on major issues on every Facebook profile, and we will, in the process, demonstrate that the old apathy of non-participation can be safely consigned to a dark age of our history. We'll get adherents to our cause voted into lower levels of Government, and if they turn their backs on us, we'll vote them the fuck out. We'll maintain scrupulous lists of demonstrated falsehoods by politicians, and we'll petition any remaining news organisations to confront those in the lower 33rd percentile. The news-cycle will be dominated by what the people give a shit about, not by what the heads of a few media empires decide we should be thinking about. No-one will be in power. Everyone will be empowered.
What will the coming insurrection be like? Fucking glorious.