- Emergent democracy
Emergent democracy is a possible side effect of
blogging. The idea is that old media makes societies more aristocratic, since discussions are controlled by whoever controls the media, while blogging, since anyone can do it, turns over control of political discussion to people at large.
An example of emergent democracy would be when
Trent Lottpraised Strom Thurmond’s 1948segregationist campaign for the presidency. Bloggers reacted intensely, though conventional journalists had ignored the comment. The story became widely circulated, and the outrage against Lott's comments led to Lott’s resignation as majority leader.
It’s a good example of emergent democracy because there was no directed movement to respond to Lott’s comments; the response occurred naturally, and its political consequences were not intentional—they were
emergent. The idea is that in a democracy, whoever decides what people talk about determines what the governmentwill do; therefore when people at large decide for themselves what they'll talk about, they also control their own political action.
The history of
William Randolph Hearstand the Spanish-American Warcontains examples of media owners using media ownership as a form of power to influence political activity. In emergent democracy, you have the same thing occurring, but distributed among a large group of people, so the media ownership represents the emergent opinion of a group, rather than one particular individual’s opinion.
Jello Biafra, Joi Itoand others saw early on in the blog platform the potential for political movements to emerge. After Trent Lott's resignation, Ito organized a group effort to discuss and document the emergent democracy concept. He announced meetings on his weblog, inviting any of his readers to attend a conference callthat was augmented by IRC chat for posting realtime visual cues and backchannel conversation, and a wikifor gathering notes from the call. This "multimodal" approach was called a "happening" by Ross Mayfield. [cite web
title="happening" on "emergent democracy"
date=2003-04-29] The conversation resulted in an Emergent Democracy paper [cite web
date=2003-02-13] that generated many discussions about the potential for weblogs and other
social softwaretools to have an impact on participation in governance. The discussion and notes were captured in a paper that was eventually edited by Jon Lebkowsky and published as a chapter in the 2005 book "Extreme Democracy".
List of politics-related topics
Open source governance
* [http://www.extremedemocracy.com/ Extreme Democracy: A Collection of papers on Emergent Democracy and related concepts]
* [http://extremedemocracy.com/chapters/Chapter%20One-Ito.pdf Emergent Democracy] , pdf of
Jon Lebkowsky's edit of the paper that resulted from the Emergent Democracy discussions.
* [http://www.wiki.demosphere.net Demosphere Project] —The wiki & global project to develop a community based democratic framework using
open sourceand interactivesoftware.
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
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