inkwell.vue.178 : David Weinberger, "Small Pieces Loosely Joined"
permalink #76 of 103: a meat-vessel, with soul poured in (wellelp) Sun 23 Mar 03 12:17
    
Are there statistics about the number of people who use the web for
anything more than email and shopping? For those that do use the web
more, are there any clear demographic trens?

I suspect your democracy answwer lies in these statistics someplace.
  
inkwell.vue.178 : David Weinberger, "Small Pieces Loosely Joined"
permalink #77 of 103: David Weinberger (dweinberger) Sun 23 Mar 03 13:21
    
1. I hope that there will be an impact on governance but I'm waiting
to see signs of it. Same old white guys, same old agendas. Maybe it'll
be truly generational.

2. There must be statistics about usage somewhere, but I am
fact-averse and reality-challenged.

3. Who my favorite Beatle is should be obvious :)
  
inkwell.vue.178 : David Weinberger, "Small Pieces Loosely Joined"
permalink #78 of 103: LoRayne Apo (lorayne-apo) Sun 23 Mar 03 15:59
    
Recent internet demographics (age, shopping, e-mail, etc.) as well as
feedback from survey participants regarding internet's impact on
politics can be found at:

http://www.ccp.ucla.edu/pdf/UCLA-Internet-Report-Year-Three.pdf

Interesting: 
-- Approximately 45% of users surveyed felt (agreed/strongly agreed)
that the internet helped them better understand politics;
-- Roughly 45% of people did not feel (strongly disagreed/disagreed)
using the internet gave them more political power;
-- 50% or more strongly disagreed/disagreed that the internet gave
users any additional say in government.

What I believe we are seeing is a cultural shift.  The age bracket of
political power in this country is older than the age bracket of
highest internet use (ex: Bush is 57 years old; in his age bracket,
only 50 to 60% use the internet; in the 16-35 age bracket, usage runs
from 97% to 83%).  

Until either elder citizens in political power use the internet as
much as junior citizens, and/or until today's 16-to-35-year-olds reach
political power, there may be a disconnect between the internet's users
and government.

This may be the new digital divide.  It's not the haves-havenots, in
terms of economics; it's have-internet-accumen/have-political-power.
  
inkwell.vue.178 : David Weinberger, "Small Pieces Loosely Joined"
permalink #79 of 103: LoRayne Apo (lorayne-apo) Sun 23 Mar 03 16:11
    <scribbled by jonl Sun 23 Mar 03 21:20>
  
inkwell.vue.178 : David Weinberger, "Small Pieces Loosely Joined"
permalink #80 of 103: LoRayne Apo (lorayne-apo) Sun 23 Mar 03 16:46
    <scribbled by jonl Sun 23 Mar 03 21:20>
  
inkwell.vue.178 : David Weinberger, "Small Pieces Loosely Joined"
permalink #81 of 103: David Weinberger (dweinberger) Mon 24 Mar 03 19:04
    <scribbled by jonl Tue 25 Mar 03 05:10>
  
inkwell.vue.178 : David Weinberger, "Small Pieces Loosely Joined"
permalink #82 of 103: LoRayne Apo (lorayne-apo) Mon 24 Mar 03 20:07
    
There are no guarantees; we're talking about humans.  They're
fallible, frail; certain "laws" of human nature aren't likely to
change.  Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely --
unchanged since man first lead other men.

There are dynamics on which we can hedge. First, the internet allows
for a freedom of information that the current press structure does not
permit.  Information wants to move; it will, it does.  Our challenge is
finding ways to reduce barriers and encourage other media to compete
with the internet, make the freedom of information movement so much a
competitive edge that not offering it as a feature is a detriment. 
(Look at al Jazeera -- don't you believe that the American press envies
the way they distribute anything, everything?  We need to demand that
as consumers.  We vote with our feet.)

Secondly, there is a growing critical mass of people who are younger
that expect and demand freely moving information.  They will question
obstruction (they hack to get around them).  Looking at population
growth, there are two large groups -- the Boomers and Gen-Y, very close
in size.  Gen-Y has a very different expectation of media and politics
than Boomers/Boomer parents had.  We have the advantage to align with
Gen-Y, meet their needs, encourage and educate them.  This is in the
best interest of future democracy.  Ignoring them will surely encourage
them to be fascist in their own way.  We need to learn to let go of
this wave we're on and work on catching the next one.

Thirdly, there is no stopping globalization; it's a corollary of the
law that "information wants to be free".  So do people.  Real global
organizations can't rely on the silos that traditionally support
corruption.  The Bush Administration is an example of a failing silo of
power; the previous administration understood that real power comes
not from operating inside the isolation of a vacuum in the global
community.  The more sticks/fewer carrots for working in a vacuum, the
less likely we'll see this model.  It wont' be entirely up to us, the
world is encouraging this shift.

Fourth, the pending change of demographics will demand a change.  The
U.S. is only half the size of the EU by population, although it
currently is the largest economy.  As the EU grows into its power, the
U.S. will need to shift to keep up.  I truly believe our traditional
power base won't survive.

Lastly, we do have a chance to change everything with each election. 
Look at how different our world became with a single presidential
election.  Should we do everything we can to promote the election of a
candidate who understands and believes in the free movement of
information, we can change the prospects for the next generation and
the impact of the future on ourselves.

It’s just going to be damned ugly until these dynamics really kick in.
  
inkwell.vue.178 : David Weinberger, "Small Pieces Loosely Joined"
permalink #83 of 103: David Weinberger (dweinberger) Tue 25 Mar 03 05:01
    
LoRayne, well put. 

For me, the question is whether those dynamics are going to be strong
enough to overcome the current political systems' will to survive and
their continued concentration of power...and their ability to corrupt
leaders, as you begin your piece by mentioning.

Maybe I'm just depressed watching my generation's leadership be
stupider, harder-hearted and less connected than my parents'. I feel
enormously empowered as a consumer, thanks to the Net, but more
powerless than ever as an American citizen.

(Sorry for the delay in responding. I'm on the road with only
occasional Net connectivity.)
  
inkwell.vue.178 : David Weinberger, "Small Pieces Loosely Joined"
permalink #84 of 103: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Wed 26 Mar 03 20:01
    
(David's traveling, so I delayed posting another question by a day.)

I'm struggling to figure out how to address the complexity of today's
politics.  I do think that "people" have power, but really smart people
don't quite know how to manifest their intelligence as part of the 
feedback loop.

Consider world affairs today, life during wartime: the leaders are all 
playing to the media. Everything, even the war, has a PR aspect. They're 
playing to an audience of "ordinary people." They're polling, and 
responsive to feedback. But what kind of feedback are they getting? How do 
the David Weinbergers make a difference, over the responses of zillion 
Hank Hills? 
  
inkwell.vue.178 : David Weinberger, "Small Pieces Loosely Joined"
permalink #85 of 103: Christian Crumlish (xian) Thu 27 Mar 03 08:20
    
Hi, David. I'm guessing your favorite Beatle is John Lennon, but it's
not obvious to me. I'd rather know your favorite philosopher.

One of the early hypertext web experiments was a hyperlinked version
of Wittgenstein's Tractatus that was eventually quashed by a German
publisher, I think.
  
inkwell.vue.178 : David Weinberger, "Small Pieces Loosely Joined"
permalink #86 of 103: LoRayne Apo (lorayne-apo) Thu 27 Mar 03 08:35
    
Jon and David -- what's exasperating for me: seeing old (older?) dogs
learn new tricks and the younger dogs (who already know and even teach
the tricks) falling apart.  

We already know this drill:  Organize to gain critical mass, around a
fundamental shared vision.  Know your “enemy”.  Use what works and use
what THEY don't have that works.  Regroup, measure, keep doing what
works.

Or in other words, change management executed at societal scale.

Why can't we do it?  Because we haven't started, haven't gotten to
step one.  We haven't itemized what it is we share in common to state
that shared vision.  We're too scattered, thin, even though we’re a
majority.  We know in general who the “enemy” is, but it's bigger than
one or a half dozen people.  We know what works -- THEY use it (media).
 We used to use it.  We have newer, faster tools at which we're adept
(see Moveon.org's experience) which we can and should deploy.

And we haven't had the BIG chat -- what happens if we get within a
week of the election and we're certain the candidate with than 10% of
the vote won't win a prayer, let alone a state.  How do we swing the
less than 10% over without the loss of their vision?  Can’t we have a
leader that 51% and less than 10% can get behind?  Did we learn
anything at all from 2000 about shared vision?  Would that be an
enormous improvement over this shared nightmare?

Now the challenge: David Weinberger is a published author.  Name
recognition, entrée to places that some Jane Doe like me doesn’t have,
the authority to call together individuals of like-mind.  Use it.  Be
the magnet, be a shameless catalyst.  Use the knowledge you have – if
the intenet is a weak unifier, what works?  Can we build a meme that
will catch fire?  If we can’t know exactly what will emerge, we can be
certain nothing will emerge if we put no intention behind it.  Use
it...that's where the David Weinbergers make the difference.

Nuts, that does sound a lot like <i>“Use the Force, Luke”</i>, doesn’t
it?  Whatever, the message is the same.  Empower yourself to be the
change you want to see.  We all have to quit waiting for rescuers and
rescue ourselves.  I guess that’s what a market does when it doesn’t
get what it needs most desperately; it catches the Cluetrain and builds
its own product.
  
inkwell.vue.178 : David Weinberger, "Small Pieces Loosely Joined"
permalink #87 of 103: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Thu 27 Mar 03 19:07
    
Something else where David and I are both involved, among others:
http://www.greaterdemocracy.org

That might be a good place to start...
  
inkwell.vue.178 : David Weinberger, "Small Pieces Loosely Joined"
permalink #88 of 103: LoRayne Apo (lorayne-apo) Thu 27 Mar 03 19:42
    
So?  Jon, David, using the precepts outlined in Cluetrain, how do you
propose to help move or lead greaterdemocracy.org towards a critical
mass?

Maybe this is where the meme starts.  Light the match!
  
inkwell.vue.178 : David Weinberger, "Small Pieces Loosely Joined"
permalink #89 of 103: a meat-vessel, with soul poured in (wellelp) Fri 28 Mar 03 18:16
    
Another question for David: is there any way to fix  reputation
systems so they are more meaningful? You talk some about eBay, and how
the feedback has become almost a bribery system--you give me a good
rating, I'll give you a good rating. So I pretty much ignore all those
lovely 99.999% positive ratings. I know from personal experience
someone with an agenda can screw you and there's nothing realistic you
can do about it. 

Is it possible, once a more effective reputation system is developed,
to make it common Webwide?

And I want to thank you for a lovely  turn of phrase on page 158:
"...the yellowed tip of Aunt Elise's vulpine left incisor." I laughed
out loud at that.

  
  
inkwell.vue.178 : David Weinberger, "Small Pieces Loosely Joined"
permalink #90 of 103: LoRayne Apo (lorayne-apo) Wed 2 Apr 03 16:04
    
Things look awfully deceased around here, but I'll throw this out here
in case anyone is interested, speaking of political empowerment:

http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/people/jmoore/secondsuperpower.html
  
inkwell.vue.178 : David Weinberger, "Small Pieces Loosely Joined"
permalink #91 of 103: David Weinberger (dweinberger) Thu 3 Apr 03 11:14
    
I haven't responded because I've been in Italy with my family. I'm
just back. Mightily jet-lagged, but back.

Easy questions first: Favorite Beatle: John. Favorite philosopher:
Heidegger.

Reputation management systems: A Web-wide one would scare the bejeezus
out of me. I like the *idea* of Whuffie in Cory Doctorow's "Down and
Out in the Magic Kingdom" but how to get there is a tad mysterious.
Does Microsoft get to administer it? Or the SEC? Yikes!

On politics: I dunno. I wish I did. Shall we say that my despair about
it is due only to being sleep-deprived? Sure, let's say that.
  
inkwell.vue.178 : David Weinberger, "Small Pieces Loosely Joined"
permalink #92 of 103: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Fri 4 Apr 03 04:43
    
Getting back to #87: one thing we've talked about at Greater Democracy 
(but we haven't really done enough about it at this point) is the need for 
"progressives" to do what the guys on the right did: brainstorm to a set 
of goals, objectives, and strategies that define and focus specific 
positions that we can hammer on and make real the way the Republicans have 
done. It's their organization and certainty that makes for wins in the 
political arena.

We may be talking about the anarchists' convention, though.

David, any jetlagged thoughts on getting organized? 
  
inkwell.vue.178 : David Weinberger, "Small Pieces Loosely Joined"
permalink #93 of 103: David Weinberger (dweinberger) Fri 4 Apr 03 14:31
    
Jon, I'd love to see some sites emerge that are online think tanks,
combining blogs, longer-form essays, wikis, discussions, etc. I think
that such sites have more effect if there's a stable of regular
participants, although I know there are arguments against this type of
"elitism."

But I wish I understood better how the Right did it. Clear and simple
ideas, sure. But also discipline and a sense of humor. (Rush Limbaugh
is a big, fat FUNNY idiot.) But it took more than that for the right to
take over the center. I wish I knew why drive-time America can't stand
liberals. Maybe the Web will let us do what we've failed to do with AM
radio. Myabe.
  
inkwell.vue.178 : David Weinberger, "Small Pieces Loosely Joined"
permalink #94 of 103: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Fri 4 Apr 03 19:12
    
Could it be that they can't stand liberals because they're communists? I 
mean, really - the right just took the freight that was attached to the 
word "communist" and attached it to the word "liberal" - and voila, they'd 
forced liberals to pretend they were something else, ultimately changing 
label (to "progressive.") How long before Rush et al replace "liberal" 
with "progressive" in his rants?

But I do think it was more. I think they worked to get their people 
focused, and I don't know how to focus a room full of progressives, 
because diversity is what it's all about, no? On the other hand, diversity 
of opinion means it's hard to keep everyone on message.

The other thing is that Republicans come on like grownups. I hate that.
  
inkwell.vue.178 : David Weinberger, "Small Pieces Loosely Joined"
permalink #95 of 103: David Weinberger (dweinberger) Sat 5 Apr 03 06:28
    
By "grownups" you mean (roughly) realists, i.e., the "manly" virtue of
presenting bad news fearlessly? Why doesn't hope have any appeal any
more? That used to be the difference between the left and right. It's
why conservatives are called "conservatives": fearful of the future,
they clung to the past.

Maybe this is the connection between the Web and the left: both are
about hope. Maybe emergent democracy is really emergent hope.

Why did hope stop counting politically?
  
inkwell.vue.178 : David Weinberger, "Small Pieces Loosely Joined"
permalink #96 of 103: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Sat 5 Apr 03 15:04
    
By grownups, I think I mean people who seem to have it together, even if 
they don't. You know how it is when you have that moment of epiphany, the 
realization that your parents really didn't have everything under control? 
Then you extend that to everybody else, and realize nobody knows what the 
fuck they're doing half the time.

I like Suzuki Roshi's comment "perfect existence through imperfect
existence,"  though...
  
inkwell.vue.178 : David Weinberger, "Small Pieces Loosely Joined"
permalink #97 of 103: LoRayne Apo (lorayne-apo) Sat 5 Apr 03 17:36
    
"Come on like grown-ups" -- meaning, they use demographics and
marketing surveys and spin doctors, I mean, marketing managers and copy
writers -- that's nothing that any one going to business school didn't
learn.  That could be part of the problem; the distribution of
business types by political orientation could be skewed against people
with the skill set needed.  But if Bill Clinton could master it, it can
be mastered again.  What we need to find is that core group who can
handle the packaging and marketing.

The other problem, as I see it, is that both the left and the right
don't see that balancing a budget, protecting the environment and
increasing homeland security are not mutually exclusive objectives. 
The platform the Dems published for 2000 was so damned broad that it
should have covered everyone; perhaps it's that the message isn't
crystallized clearly enough so that everyone realizes it's their
platform of choice.
  
inkwell.vue.178 : David Weinberger, "Small Pieces Loosely Joined"
permalink #98 of 103: the invetned stiff is dumb (bbraasch) Sun 6 Apr 03 20:24
    
Focus that thought on the blue states and you get a different sense of 
the problem than if you look at the whole puzzle.  

They've changed the game now though.  Fear is way outselling hope.  
  
inkwell.vue.178 : David Weinberger, "Small Pieces Loosely Joined"
permalink #99 of 103: Gail Williams (gail) Mon 7 Apr 03 09:41
    
Fear of being exploded to bits rather than fear of living under a bridge and
eating dogfood in one's declining years seems to be the big shift.
  
inkwell.vue.178 : David Weinberger, "Small Pieces Loosely Joined"
permalink #100 of 103: the invetned stiff is dumb (bbraasch) Mon 7 Apr 03 10:46
    
Fear of being blown to bits while living under a bridge and eating 
dogfood would be more rational.  

I think a lot of the blue state people would be more afraid that the red 
state people would start showing up looking for less crowded bridge 
dwellings.  
  

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