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View Diary: Daily Kos: What Went Wrong, How Do We Move On? (34 comments)

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  •  Internet echo chamber (3.90)
    Daily Kos is merely a microcosm of the same phenomenon which led the Dean campaign itself to divorce itself from reality and then disintegrate in such spectacular fashion.  It is the siren call of the Internet echo chamber which produced both that result and the circumstances you right of.

    The Internet is an extremely powerful tool in every respect.  Used improperly, it can become a self-contained little virtual reality where dissent is quite easily stifled and where the moderator is essentially the God of his little domain.  It is an effortless endeavor for a moderator to manipulate debate in whatever direction he or she desires.  Moreover, the very nature of moderation becomes a self-reinforcing group dynamic which constructs a community of like-minded individuals highly susceptible to ever converging popular consensus ... until empirical reality comes crashing in.

    Minority viewpoints are quite easily stifled either via the direct application of coercive tools (such as the rating system) or the inability to break through the chorus of opposition.  Without a certain vigilance specifically designed to welcome and maintain contrary points of view the virtual world is quickly structured as a very persuasive reflection of what we want reality to be, because all contrary elements have been filtered out.

    In particular when so much effort is expended to suppress precisely that element which was most relevant to the rise and fall of the Dean campaign - discussion of electability - then it should come as no surprise when the final result is a complete and utter divorcement from reality.  To expand this, whenever the Dean campaign stumbled in whatever manner - usually a Dean gaffe - there was an immediate source of affirmation and rationalization in the Blog for America which led them to ignore or even compound the errors.

    The illusion was spun ever more effectively into a pretty caricature of reality where - as is often the case on the Internet - the objective was no longer to arrive at ever more accurate representations of reality (as one does in the 'real world') but rather who could most effectively rout the opposing POV by spinning rhetoric to maintain the virtual reality constructed within the forum.  The warning signs were quite abundant and the warning voices punctuated the discussion on a fairly regular basis (I have been lurking here since well before the move to Scoop).  However, you always had one more personal anecdote or one more compelling writer or one more artificial counter-meme with which to dismiss the calls for reflection.

    That is my opinion.  Sorry if this sounds obnoxious or long-winded but this has been on my mind a lot of late.

    •  ______ (4.00)
      I think also this is where the message dissonance and recursiveness comes in. In cries to "take the country back", empowerment became confused with self-hagiography. I wrote this in my own blog last week:

      The internet, for all of its talk as an open system, actually behaves like a closed system for all intents and purposes. Linking and bookmarking closes the system incrementally. Friendstering for Dean will only bring in people who think like you. Which is all well and good, but it doesn't win Ohio.

      No one incapable of generosity with two hundred million dollars suddenly becomes generous with two hundred and fifty. --Ray Davis

      by AlanD on Tue Feb 03, 2004 at 03:32:35 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah... (4.00)
        The unfortunate part of the internet is that the larger it gets, the less a new user is likely to believe their participation will matter one bit.  The next huge challenge in social software is scalability - making a large movement appear small enough that anyone can come in at any time and affect things.  If someone's new opinions are exposed as identical to a large other slice, it should match those people up with action items that they can work on as a group, where every bit of help is needed.

        Lots of Dean strategy thoughts on my blog.

        by tunesmith on Tue Feb 03, 2004 at 04:29:16 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Awesome Post (none)
      "That is my opinion.  Sorry if this sounds obnoxious or long-winded but this has been on my mind a lot of late."

      Sounds right on to me.  Awesome post.

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