The Coming Together of the Tribes

The media hath spoken: 2004 was the “year of the blog.” As we all know, whenever a broadcast and print media come to a consensus, a truth is born. Thus, we can relax. There is no need to put any further thought into the matter. Unfortunately, I have a bad habit of thinking. And as a result of my nasty habit, I believe the media has completely misunderstood what the blog represents: the first significant manifestation of much larger trend.

This powerful trend is two-fold:

  • the rise of the network as a form of social organization.
  • the freeing information from the constraints and limitations of the physical world.

In the first post of this series, we will explore the rise of the network through the lenses of history, and the social sciences.

Extreme Democracy

Holy crap, how did I miss this site?

Quote of the Day

Only one thing is impossible for God: To find any sense in any copyright law on the planet. - Mark Twain

The 2005 Progressive Democrats of America Summit in Washington D.C.

This Friday, I'm flying to Washington D.C. for the Progressive Democrats of America Summit. I'll be giving a talk at the summit about how progressives can get their message out online. If any of ya'll are going to be in Washington DC 21st-25th, contact me, and perhaps we'll be able to meet up at some point.

Quote of the Day

"In war as in life, it is often necessary when some cherished scheme has failed, to take up the best alternative open, and if so, it is folly not to work for it with all your might." - Winston Churchill

This Decade's "Gigabyte"

Back in my day (when I was 10 years old, just before the tech boom), I used to spend my nights fantasizing about the possibilities of a 32-megabyte harddrive. I remember being once arrested for learing at the Mac Quadra AV (it might have been "AV PRO"... who knows). But how could I not lear? It had 64 megahertz! The 68040 Chip! And "AV"? Oh, that means it plays audio and video!!!! Now that's high-tech shit!

(Actually Holding My Breath)

Zach Rosen (for those of you with sex lives, he is the founder and director of Civicspace Labs) shares some alarming news:

A Question of Journalism, Ethics, and a Random Mass of People with Hammers

Here is the dirty truth: I have no idea what that 'Zephergate' thing was all about. I tried to make it through several blogposts that explained the contraversy; but I just couldn't get past the first few paragraphs. I'm simply not interested in such matters; and I make it a point to avoid the world of people that are. That said, I wanted to share some 'thoughts'(1) about the debate on blogging, ethics, and journalism.

The blog is a piece of software (a.k.a. a tool). Without a human being, a blog decays into a dead rotting lump ones and zeros ( a point well demonstrated by the millions of abandoned blogs). I feel that I'm restating the obvious here, however, I've yet to read my next point among the threads of comments in these debates. Questions about ethics in blogging can only be understood if posed in human-centered languge, and terms (2). Here's one way to think of it: every time you encounter a question related to blogs, replace the word "blog" with "hammer", and "blogosphere" with "pile of hammers". I've found the trick to be quite useful in helping me think about the questions in a clearer sense. For example:

Such, Such Were the Joys

BY GEORGE ORWELL

Soon after I arrived at Crossgates (not immediately, but after a week or two, just when I seemed to be settling into routine of school life) I began wetting my bed. I was now aged eight, so that this was a reversion to a habit which I must have grown out of at least four years earlier.

Nowadays, I believe, bed-wetting in such circumstances is taken for granted. It is a normal reaction in children who have been removed from their homes to a strange place. In those days, however, it was looked on as a disgusting crime which the child committed on purpose and for which the proper cure was a beating. For my part I did not need to be told it was a crime. Night after night I prayed, with a fervor never previously attained in my prayers, ‘Please God, do not let me wet my bed! Oh, please God, do not let me wet my bed!’ but it made remarkably little difference. Some nights the thing happened, others not. There was no volition about it, no consciousness. You did not properly speaking do the deed: you were merely woke up in the morning and found that the sheets were wringing wet.

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