This is one of the most insightful observations I’ve heard a writer make in years, well done Devin Coldewey. While not evidenced by my recent burst of protesting SOPA/PIPA, I’ve become more and more apolitical since being (believe or not) president of my sophomore and junior class in college. Back then I had political ambitions (better, more frequent pizza in the cafeteria – I delivered), which I long since retired. But, this single paragraph lit a fire in me. Well, maybe a spark, yet to be seen. It was moving at least.
One thing that this whole SOPA thing (and COICA before it, and others before that, and surely more to come) shows is the complete disconnect between the informed, online community and the legislative and governing bodies. The incredible increase in our capability to propagate and discuss issues and events has not been matched by a corresponding receptive capability on the part of our representatives and officials.This must change.
“This must change.” So true. Great food for thought for social entrepreneurs and our community as a whole. How can we use technology to improve the reception of the massive volume of discussion and information among informed citizens online to the individuals who represent us? He goes on to say:
The state of feedback between the governed and the governors is deplorable. Very little of the innovation driving internet companies is being applied to this problem, and as we have seen, it is a very serious problem.
We (the tech community) specialize in solving serious problems. I hear opportunity.
Devin defined activism as, “[Activism is] like-minded individuals working to support or oppose a cause.” He contrasted yesterday’s blackouts etc. as follows: “What we are seeing today, in large companies and organizations acting together to sway an outcome, might better be termed collective bargaining.” His point being that the people, while able to surface the issue and get attention, did not have the power to sway government without the mass participation of influential companies like Google, Wikepedia, Reddit, and Facebook.
Though this may be an accurate analysis, it occurs to me that the Internet has made a different, perhaps more useful form of activism possible. The ability for a very large and loosely-related group of people and smaller organizations, who are not like-minded, to effectively work together to support or oppose a cause.