Thursday, November 13, 2003

Democratizing Democracy

An interesting day yesterday at the O'Reilly meeting on emerging democracy. It was a small group, convened in one room to brainstorm about what the Internet means for the ways people choose their leaders and govern themselves.

Some participants, like Stewart Brand and Esther Dyson, have already seen a few revolutions come and go. I sat between Josh Lerner from the Clark campaign and Zack Rosen from the Dean campaign, and across from MoveOn's Wes Boyd -- folks who have hands-on roles in the current election season. Phil Windley brought the perspective of someone who has actually worked in government, David Weinberger added both big-think and practical experience from the Dean campaign. I'm leaving out a few folks, mostly because I have to leave for the airport soon.

Some of the conversation was philosphical and definitional -- hashing out questions of whether this this a new phenomenon, or a fresh way of approaching older ones. I don't think we settled that, although I lean toward the latter, which to me at least is no less exciting. Joi Ito, who kept reminding us that this is a global issue, took more of the opposite position.

We spent a lot of time talking about the tools of the trade -- Zack explained DeanSpace, Wes walked through some of how MoveOn does what it does, we covered everything from mail groups to blogs -- although blogs got relatively little attention. We took an interesting detour into the question of electronic voting, courtesy of David Dill.

Dinner was fun -- talking Trollope with Tim O'Reilly, North Carolina radio with Doc, enjoying my second meal in a few weeks with Britt Blaser.

Whatever Tim decides to do with all those notes he took -- a conference, a book, who knows -- this movement is way too big and important to be confined or defined by one group or one company. We couldn't do it if we tried. This is going to develop -- it is developing -- in the field, and take on a life of its own. That's kind of the point, I think.

9:12:34 AM    comment []

Gregory Crewdson/Untitled/1998

The new site for the Weatherspoon Art Museum is up and running. It's clean and nicely organized, but one of the best features is still being filled out -- a searchable image database of 1,800 items from the 'Spoon's collection.

8:20:13 AM    comment []