Monday, June 13, 2005

extreme democracy

Over the weekend, I was exploring the blogosphere. ("Exploring's" the wrong word. And it was deeper than "surfing." "Diving," maybe?) Over the weekend, I was diving the blogosphere and came across a book review on Smart Mobs[1] for Extreme Democracy. The book is available in both print and as a free download PDF from It's a fascinating collection of essays discussing the social and political impact of blogs, mobile blogging, text messaging, and other new communication techniques. I haven't had time to get very far into it, but I wanted to get the word out in case others wanted to explore it.

The essays are not in formal academic style. In fact, the style is closer to The Cathedral and the Bazaar, Wired, or a blog entry, but there are footnotes for further study. The first two essays argue that the structure of blogs, unlike the web in general, allows for emergent behavior, and that the new technologies are allowing new forms -- or at least scales -- of political organization to emerge. My own immediate reaction is that the essays seem somewhat one-sided, but I'll reserve final judgment until I've had a chance to read more. What really has me interested, though, is that they're helping to crystallize some ideas I've been mulling over for a while about tribes that can communicate over long distances, and culture that's no longer tied to geography.

Check it out if you get a chance. And as you do, it might be worth considering what a culture that values "getting the word out" before mulling over ideas means for these new social structures.

[1] Thank you, Smart Mobs, for avoiding StudlyCaps. The world has enough names with StudlyCaps.

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