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Christian Crumlish, or rather, xian (which is his internet identity), has written a book that I've been expecting. It a historical explanation of what's happened with politics through blogs and the internet, but goes beyond that, to a multitopical way of explaining the transformation.

We use technology to enhance the things we care about. What's happened online didn't really invent something new, it's merely revitalized the local community that's dissipated in this nation over the past century. That's really a concise explanation of why Dean for America's netroots during 2002-2003 happened, and why we continue here today beyond that moment. Xian has interviewed many of those that took part in the effort, showing what it meant to get politically involved locally through the internet, and becoming a decentralized movement that emerged into a collective power with Dean as a spokesperson. The book provides the reader an indepth look into the thoughts of those that shaped the technology that was used by the decentralized movement called Dean for America. But xian reaches beyond the political participation, and the tech-speak side of the blogosphere, into the greater community phenomenon that's happening online, and therein presents a much fuller grasp of what it all means and where it's all going. The political blogs reside within a greater sphere, if you will, and what we experience through political participation on Daily Kos, MyDD, and others, is happening with all sorts of issues and life topics on different parts of the internet. Issues such as group support, transactions, and identity. The book is rich with actual experiential description.

For us, blogging is the epicenter of all this that's happening toward a renewed democratic expression.  It is community, it is about action, it is about transforming the political system. It's through the real work of many that this will happen. In this book, xian does the historical work of putting the pieces together through interviewing many (yes, kos is interviewed in the book) of those bloggers, techies, leading thinkers, and by sharing his own ordinary online experiences.

The Power of Many is a snapshot of this time, just as it's happened, describing the moment that the web reached critical mass and started to have a signficant impact on the real world.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Tue Oct 12, 2004 at 06:10 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I second Jerome's comments (none)
    I received my copy of The Power of Many last week, and reviewed it at Amazon and in my personal blog, Orient Lodge.  It is a great book, and it is fun to see many familiar names in it.
  •  The downside (3.66)
    The problem is myopia. It's true that the internet has provided an opportunity to create communities that would otherwise not have existed, but because it is anonymous communities do not develop with groups of divergent views. When conservatives and liberals encounter each other online it's usually a futile exercise that degenerates into snipping and name calling. The end results is the the left talks to itself and the right talks to itself and the nation becomes more divided and more hostile.

    The important next step for bloggers is to move the ideas and information gathered in the blogosphere into your own real-world community. In other words, do something!

    "Somehow 'we told you so' just doesn't say it"

    by Rp on Tue Oct 12, 2004 at 10:27:40 AM PDT

    •  Power of Many (none)
      Let's direct the power of many at Sinclair Broadcasting today.  Their Nasdaq ticker symbol is SGBI.  Should be interesting to see what happens to the share price-  hopefully some big institutional investors will react negatively to Sinclair's plan to air the slime piece on Kerry.
    •  OT -- But I've gotta get this poison (none)
      outta my head in hopes it will go away --

      NPR just ran snippets from Obama and Keyes speeches.  Keyes' bottom line --

      "Are you going to vote for God?  Or for the Democrat [sic] Party?"

      What do his campaign signs say?  "Religionuts for Lunacy"?

      He sounds even angrier than Bushit -- doubtless because reality won't cooperate with his idiotology.  Sheesh, by now reality has yawned and walked away . . .

      A lie is halfway around the world before the truth can get its shoes on -- Mark Twain

      by jnagarya2 on Tue Oct 12, 2004 at 10:37:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It probably wouldn't play well on TV (none)
        but just for once I'd like to see Kerry or some other pol, when faced with some of these patently ridiculous statements, just openly laugh and say something like: "Are you kidding? I won't even dignify that with a response". When the other side make intelligent criticisms they should be rewarded with an intelligent response, but stupid invective should go the way of drunken rantings at a cocktail party: good humored (but unconditional) dismissal.
        •  Are you voting for Kerry? (none)
          Or are you stupid?

          No War No KKK No Fascist USA

          by kwyzkl on Tue Oct 12, 2004 at 11:32:33 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  "There You Go Again" (none)
          and "He can ruuun' buttee caint haaaad."

          These kind of remarks do work well on TV if the speaker can sell them. Obviously, it's not a matter of intellectual capacity.

          We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy....--ML King, "Beyond Vietnam"

          by Gooserock on Tue Oct 12, 2004 at 11:42:36 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Debate tonight: Obama vs. Keyes (none)
        Barack Obama vs. Alan Keyes

        Tonight 7-8 EST, 4-5 pm PST

        Live web broadcast at http://www.wjbc.com/

        The price of liberty is eternal vigilance...

        by Fiat Lux on Tue Oct 12, 2004 at 03:39:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I think that (4.00)
      the degeneration into sniping and namecalling is more a function of the uncompromising and partisan nature of discourse in this country than any anonymity provided by the Internet. In my experience, the divisiveness prevalent now seems to apply equally whether surfing the blogosphere or chatting around the watercooler. The larger challenge, as always, is how to constructively engage with people with disparate views from our own and not walk away pissed off. I'm not claiming for a minute to have any newfound wisdom on this subject. It's an arduous journey that demands real work and every day (as Cheryl Crow says) is a winding road. And not everyone is at the same point on that road.
      •  I don't know. I remember the (none)
        beginnings of sniping and such online as preceding the intensive partisanship and sniping.  And the "facilitator" of that sniping was precisely the fact of anonymity: some got the idea that, because anonymous, they could go online and act like assholes and get away with it.  Only later did that get connected to politics, with the help of such as Gingrich, and the rise of Right Whine hate radio.

        As well, the fact of communicating across a wide span of geographic territory, thus the unlikelihood that one person would ever actually meet another, also "facilitated" the nastiness.  If one is in a foul mood, what the hell: go online and take it out on others; they won't know the real identity of the person/s doing it, and, besides, the person/s doing it aren't going to meet the others in real life.

        Thus I've always had an objection to the anonymity, because for too many it is a license to be irresponsible.

        A lie is halfway around the world before the truth can get its shoes on -- Mark Twain

        by jnagarya2 on Tue Oct 12, 2004 at 06:49:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Agree (4.00)
      Moving it into the real world is what it's all about. One solid rule of thumb my editor ruthless imposed on me when I was writing this book was that we were only interested in online groups where there was some action taken in the real world.
  •  sounds like a great book (none)
    I'm sure the powers-that-be have already devised strategies to water down and cheapen the impact of the internet revolution, so what can we do to make this doesn't happen? Also, although I haven't seen any recent numbers, I'm sure the Internet continues to be largely the province of the middle and upper classes in the U.S. If we could make WiFi PC's as cheap as cell phones and get the more underpriviledged elements of our society online THAT would be revolutionary.
    •  Here is a list of things we need to do. (3.50)

      We need to USE the technology to stay cutting edge. Leverage technology to reduce costs and improve communication. This means using Bit Torrent in an intergrated system to add video to this site. This means peer to peer web streaming, which allows anyone to have a radio show. Any diary, and any poster should be able to host their own shows.

      We need to have progressive job listings, like monster.com and http://www.craigslist.org/

      We need social networking tools, like friendster, tribes, etc. http://www.tribe.net/

      We need to be better organized, we need databases with all of the phone numbers from every media company so that if any of them pulls anything we can contact them immediately.

      We need a book review system so people who read books like Lakoff's book can review it and help promote it. We need to promote our own books, a diary poster who has a lot of fans should be able to write a book and this site should have a system in place to promote their book. Blogs should also act as a think tank, and should produce books.

      We could start a co-op, we could build an entire economy around these blogs and a lot of us could profit. We can become the journalists and think tanks, we have that ability. We also have the ability to better network with each other, to hire other progressives when we can, to buy from progressive companies when we can, and to have precise organized boycotts on companies like Sinclair. Any company which decides to get political can go on a boycott list. We can make this site a portal site not just to political journalism, but to political shopping if you are on a boycott by giving a list of sites to products which are sold by progressive companies on a "buy" list.

      We could have a progressive mutual fund, run by this website to allow us to pool our stock and our money not just for politics but for profit.

      There are a lot of possibilities, but I think the end result should be that we become the leading progressive think tank. We must stay democratic in that we must have a web of trust based rating system to rate diary posts. A person with a lot of good diary posts should move up in the rankings and have their diary displayed first. By having the foundation in place to promote books, people with popular writings or diaries should have the ability to write books and sell them through the blog to their fans, if they have fans.

      So the goal would be to both build an economy around the blogs and to build community. This is a lot easier than you'd think because all the technology is here.

      Rageaholics are unfit for command. Rage as an addiction

      by Lucian on Tue Oct 12, 2004 at 12:57:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  ooh, interesting book, interesting blog (3.50)
    Thanks for the post. I've been getting pretty tired of the ongoing 'Kos has no experience in community design and I do' theme when reality would dictate the opposite.
    After the election we need to have a serious conversation about herding cats and how not to do it. Does this book talk about how authority is established on large blogs and the forms it takes? (because I think we need to be talking about that too)

    "...the definition of a gaffe in Washington is somebody who tells the truth but shouldn't have." Howard Dean

    by colleen on Tue Oct 12, 2004 at 10:36:47 AM PDT

    •  Interesting and important (3.50)
      points.

      As to herding cats: don't even try.  They won't cooperate.

      It has been an interesting evolution.  I've been telecomming since 1987.  Have gone from having to log onto a BBS to respond to posts while online, to DLing the messages, responding offline, then logging on and ULing them.  

      Then, just as the software technology evolved to the point of having neat offline readers ("Silly Little Mail Reader" here, thank you) -- log on, DL mail, log off, load mail reader, respond, log on, UL -- then Internet_S_ became the big deal.  Overnight, BBSs and offline readers essentially disappeared (along with Fidonet and other such -nets).

      So now it's responding "instantly" while online -- again . . .  Hmm, how did I get here?  {Scratching head.}

      A lie is halfway around the world before the truth can get its shoes on -- Mark Twain

      by jnagarya2 on Tue Oct 12, 2004 at 10:44:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  empowered again... (3.50)
    Saturday I marched with 130 others in a small town in Central WA. ( I'll write a diary soon).
    One story I want to tell here because it fits.

    At the gathering point there was an elderly man with an 'older' military helmet on. I thought Korean , can't be a WWII vet!? I as wrong.  

    Vet Hal Blean (86) marched with his WWII helmet and his PURPLE HEART he earned at Omaha Beach on D-Day 1944.  

    As I looked upon him I couldn't get myself to go over and say 'HI'.  Later I under stood my reluctance.

    I felt guilty.  
    Guilty for taking for granted all that he and his generation had done for us.

    Guilty for not fighting for my country over the last 50 years as hard as he fought in his youth.

    Guilty for 'allowing' George Bush into office.

    Guilty  that because of my generations lack of attention to politics that he felt he needed to march once again to free America.

    This web 'community'  is the 'defibrillator' of the American conscience and empowerment.

    Whenever I think I am alone and powerless, I will think of Hal Blean; and think how alone he must have felt on Omaha Beach.

    I hope I meet Mr. Blean again soon. I would gladly shake his hand and tell him how PROUD I am of his service, then and NOW.

    "During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." - George Orwell

    by badgerette on Tue Oct 12, 2004 at 10:38:56 AM PDT

    •  Ever since meeting Twain in (none)
      high school, I've hated politics with a fascination.

      So I never, even after Saigon fell, stopped being engaged in politics.  Even when that "only" meant contributing to neighborhood and community (affordable housing, affordable health care, PD bicycle patrols).  Which inevitably meant speaking to others about political issues and candidates, etc.

      (Who put the "candid" in "candidate"?)

      (Ever notice that Reagan waddled like a penguin?)

      So I've not neglected that duty of citizenship.  

      A lie is halfway around the world before the truth can get its shoes on -- Mark Twain

      by jnagarya2 on Tue Oct 12, 2004 at 10:51:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  for myself... (none)
        Yes I also have spoken out over the years, written a few letters, and voted in every election.

        But I have always felt helpless and overwhelmed in the bigger picture.  The web communities have stopped that.
        Voting is not enough.

        "During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." - George Orwell

        by badgerette on Tue Oct 12, 2004 at 11:23:46 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  What the blog community does (none)
          is put right at one's hands a group of like-minded individuals working on the same "project".

          Though it's a mix which can include "too many cooks," it also includes "many hands to make the work light".

          I don't recall any time I've felt overwhelmed (except when eligible for the draft during Viet Nam), perhaps because I focused on the ground just in front of my feet.  Bite off a little at a time.

          It is also brought down to scale by being "neighborhood" or local "community" "only".  (During Dukakis run for president, he spoke of having "invented" "public-private partnerships" for such as affordable housing.  Actually, I initiated and was part of an affordable housing action which eventuated in the "public-private partnership"; it was only subsequently that it floated up the chain to where Dukakis could claim he "invented" it.)

          Unfortunately, this blogging is also addictive.  :|

          A lie is halfway around the world before the truth can get its shoes on -- Mark Twain

          by jnagarya2 on Tue Oct 12, 2004 at 05:32:28 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I give you credit.... (none)
            for all your involvement over the years.  

            Unfortunately I don't think it holds true for the majority.   I often 'bitch' and say I NEED A WIFE, someone to clean the toilets, do the dishes, make the dentist appointments, etc., etc..
            I run a business, take care of house, and family, (see above), cook dinner, am involved in school and community, volunteer, etc.  Like many women in this country life is OVERWHELMING on a daily basis.

            Many of my friends have always thought of me as the 'involved' one or a poltical and community activist.  
            Hindsight is 20/20.... but I truly believe 'we' allowed  Bush into office. By NOT contributing $$, speaking out, writing letters, and all the things 'we' do now because of sights like dKOS.

            I just heard someone say... and I agree;
            "IN the WH in November or IN the streets in December!"

            But for people like Hal Blean, I will devote more of my time and money to 'TBC' as Kid Oakland says.
            Take Back the Country
            Take care of Business

            I will be her loooong after eleven2.

            "During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." - George Orwell

            by badgerette on Tue Oct 12, 2004 at 06:08:48 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I agree. And it's not different for me (none)
              or anyone.  Each of us have the same amount per 24 hour cycle of finite time.  How do we use it?

              I haven't been getting any reading done -- offline.  Or any significant writing done -- offline.  (My hands are always tired!)

              Instead I'm using that time to work on the campaign.

              Otherwise, all the stuff about the "many" and the "few to few" is over my head.  I've got more than enough to do just trying to keep up on a few of the numerous issues that are going on (here), and acting on those, and updating friends who haven't the same amount of time to devote to keeping up with what is going on.

              The time has flown, though.  I can't believe we're so close to the election so quickly.  Some say "time flies when your having fun."  Hell, time flies no matter what yer doing!  :|

              So I "avoid" getting overwhelmed by devoting the bulk of my time, at present, to the campaign.  Which is perhaps choosing by what I will be overwhelmed.  (Actually, it's immersion to the exclusion of almost everything else -- offline reading and writing being most important.  And I wonder where everyone else gets the time to write diaries and make them look fancy!)

              A lie is halfway around the world before the truth can get its shoes on -- Mark Twain

              by jnagarya2 on Tue Oct 12, 2004 at 06:39:19 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  choosing by what I will be overwhelmed by... (none)
                Agree, and obviously our hearts are in the same arena. :)
                So my toilet has rust stains, the fridge will remain ...needing cleaning, etc., etc., I will do the Teen Center every Saturday night, and I will continue to spread the word, write letters, and poll wherever I can.

                But this thread is exemplified by the statement...

                >It is community, it is about action, it is about transforming the political system. It's through the real work of many that this will happen.<

                I am now a part of the many, with my own input.

                "During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." - George Orwell

                by badgerette on Tue Oct 12, 2004 at 07:02:33 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Yes! (And I had to stop and do (none)
                  some of those tasks in order to avoid problems with "Dear Landlord"!)

                  And: yes, you are.  :)

                  A lie is halfway around the world before the truth can get its shoes on -- Mark Twain

                  by jnagarya2 on Tue Oct 12, 2004 at 07:28:43 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

  •  Real-time Example..... (none)

    ....The Sinclair Broadcating Group is planning to run an anti-Kerry smear movie days before the election , Many of its TV stations are in swing states such as Ohio. I live in New Mexico, but grew up in the Dayton OH area.

        Through links on Buzzflash and others, plus Googling,  I emailed links to activist friends in Dayton on the two Sinclair stations in the Dayton market, urging them to watch the 5-6 o'clock time slot for local advertisers, contact the advertisers as well as the stations as to the negative effect the airing of the smear movie could have on them. I'm sure people in Ohio have alrready done similar things but the blogosphere allows rapidity and reinforcement that otherwise would not happen.

    •  Instantaneity (none)
      The word came to mind and demanded release.  Who am I to say no?

      I think the wingers -- most I encountered online during the 90s were wingers/"Libertarians" -- are going to be shown, as the phenomenon of online political activism matures, to be an impossible-to-find minority.

      I mean, they've always existed, though one rarely met such.  But until online technology, they weren't able to network.  Now, though, they are rapidly being overcome by the proper majority.  They may maintain their networks to each other, but by sheer population they are going to be shown as that they've always been: extemist fringe, marginalized by themselves.

      Most people, when they discover a person is a constant liar, will drop them like a hot Quayle; and the word gets around.

      A lie is halfway around the world before the truth can get its shoes on -- Mark Twain

      by jnagarya2 on Tue Oct 12, 2004 at 10:59:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  That's the power of spherical networks (none)
      Broadcasting is the power of many. It is a pyramid at its base are many. Consider that a failed television show on the networks has millions, plural, of viewers. More than this blog gets a week.

      It is the ability of information to flow through very narrow channels that is what is transformative. In fact, the internet is about the active few taking on the powerful very few who are backed by the less active many.

      The power of many is what happened to Howard Dean. Overnight, everyone seemed to have a negative opinion of him, because the pyramid of the media was dropped on top of him.

  •  Power of many (none)
    Being new to the blogosphere, I have stars in my eyes about the potential (and the reality) of what is happening here.  However, as I have been reading the comments on Kos, and watching people react as it has grown to include people like me, I think that we need to be careful not to latch on to exclusivity. It's different on blogs that deal with hobbies (Cat lovers! Cooks!).  They are for social purposes, creating a sense of community, like a book club or poker night.

    The political/social action/change the world blogs I have been reading also create a sense of commmunity, often sorely missing in "real life". But they also have a larger purpose.  They are replacing a broken media, and trying to fix the leaks in an increasingly broken political system.      We should reach out and make sure that everyone is welcome in this debate, since it affects everyone.   Remember, there are people who still struggle with attachments to email, and they are not just your grandfather.  They are people I work with every day, people in thier 20's and 30's, people who want to be a part of something like this but may not even know it exists.  We should be working with them, not just for them.

    Reach out!  

    •  Yes! I introduced a friend to (none)
      computers, and was online doing BBSing for years.

      He was not.

      He beat me to the Internet_S_!

      A lie is halfway around the world before the truth can get its shoes on -- Mark Twain

      by jnagarya2 on Tue Oct 12, 2004 at 05:44:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Agreed . . . (none)
    . . . but you really do see some remarkable misinformation on the blogosphere, too, masquarading as fact.

    Yesterday, for example, I ran across a site called "Women's Rights and Lefts" -- a team blog apparently put up by several suburban women to host their own political debate.  In the comments to one post I found this interesting assertion:

    Yes, it is tragic and horrible that so many have lost their lives, both our troops and innocent Iraquis, but............it's less than died in the Trade Center.

    Keep things in perspective here.

    The commenter is apparently unaware that, including U.S., coalition, and Iraqi civilian deaths (as compiled by Iraq Body Count), some 14,000 to 18,000 people have died as a result of this war and its aftermath.

    I wonder how widespread this sort of misperception is in Wingerville.  (Not that knowing the accurate figures would necessarily change anyone's minds -- the bulk of the deaths are, after all, "only" Iraqi civilians.)  And, more germane to the current thread, how much internal reinforcement this sort of misinformation gets as it pings around through the blogosphere.

    . . .

    Carve out your place in history!  Enter the Dump Bush Pumpkin-Carving Contest.

  •  Networking (none)
    Does anyone know how to start or get started a network, I mean similar to friendster, totally devoted to progressives.  You could put your education, your background, your issues, and talents, it would kind of provide a resource for contacts.  Myspace is kind of similar, but I think that is rather open, so anyone can read your profile going on the site.  

    My thinking is that it would serve a totally different purpose,than a blog by connecting people, but also promote actual contact, for the purpose of action.

    So if I need to hire a filmmaker, or programmer for a project, or promote a public event, it would be great to have a place that is devoted solely to networking.  Friendster is more for hooking up, and fun, but I think we could focus on action-oriented progress.  

    Anyone have any thoughts on this?

    •  Sinclair headed south.... (none)
      Sinclair (SBGI) is headed down, folks.  It's dropped .14 this morning-

      http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=SBGI&d=t

      •  NPR did a report on the (none)
        Sinclair issue.

        It included comment by McCauliffe, former FCC head who said Sinclair running the film is a violation, and that some 21 Democratic Senators are speaking out on it.

        A lie is halfway around the world before the truth can get its shoes on -- Mark Twain

        by jnagarya2 on Tue Oct 12, 2004 at 05:50:15 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  we need a lot of stuff (none)
      We need a progressive co-op, a progressive mutual fund, a progressive democratic news network allowing any blog poster to upload a video to be streamed to millions, we need streaming peer to peer audio which anyone can stream and upload to millions, we need job listings so progressives can hire each other if Bush is re-elected, we need social networking, and we need to build the community, we need a book reviewing system, we need a ranking system so the best diaries are given a rating based on their overall post, maybe using a karma system like slashdot. I think we need to be better orgnanized, meaning things should be put into specific sections. The good thing is so far this site is the best designed blog site, but it's a very low tech site, its not cutting edge. I don't blame them because the election is right now and theres no time to upgrade, but there are plenty of technologies.

      Here is a list of some

      http://www.mercora.com/  (Audio streaming for web radio)
      http://www.tribe.net/  (organized social networking)
      http://www.scs.cs.nyu.edu/coral/ (website caching system to reduce costs)
      http://www.research.earthlink.net/p2p/ (streaming video and audio)
      http://www.shouldexist.org (brainstorming and idea creation-we need a place to store our creative ideas)

      We also need security through a better signature system. We need very good security if we ever want to start a co-op, or handle anything financial.
      please convince the owners of this site to intergrate them in their next upgrade cycle.

      Rageaholics are unfit for command. Rage as an addiction

      by Lucian on Tue Oct 12, 2004 at 01:13:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  All the fun of a community organization... (none)
    Blogs:  all the fun of a community organization without the bother of having to expend the effort to get up off your butt and actually attend the meeting (where you might be asked to volunteer to do some "work" to boot)!

    sPh

    •  Well Put!!!! (none)
      You NAILED it!

      It's paradoxical, but the very thing that is supposedly bringing everyone together is really seeded in sitting in front of a computer screen. Alone. Blogging also means you're talking only to likeminded people who go to an online community to talk to other likeminded people.

      Here is what will be a very unpopular example. Recently a Congressional Candidate allowed bloggers to create a daily schedule for him. This got a lot of press and attention because he was giving power to the people and letting the people decide what he was going to do. This sounds great but for one small problem, the resulting daily schedule did not include one hour of fundraising call time or attendence at a scheduled funraising event. Go and ask ANY political professional if this is a good thing and they'll say no. It might sound nice to say "Jeff shook a lot of hands and really listened to people and then read to his daughter!!" but it's not possible to handshake your way into office. You can't do it at the Congressional level. Congressional Districts have over 1/2 million people and it's prohibitive to meet them all. The onl way to communicate at that scale is with paid media, including direct mail and that takes MONEY. A candidate not spending significant time raising money is not doing the right thing to get elected. Spending time on the phone isn't fun, glamourous or newsworthy, which is why you rarely see news reports saying "Jeff Seeman today spent five hours on the telephone calling potential donors, 90% of whom either hung up on him or said 'no.'"

      Furthermore, for the same reason that internet polls or call in polls are dismissed for not representing a random sampling of a universe, blogs carry the same problem. Kos is NOT a random sampling of the USA, it's a place where liberal go to talk about liberal things with other liberal people.

  •  Full Disclosure (none)
    Doesn't xian work for Markos and Jerome?  Shouldn't that be disclosed when doing a promotional piece like this?  

    I'm sure this is a great book, and very much worth this kind of promotion, but I think bloggers should hold themselves to the kind of ethical standards that have evolved in traditional journalism.  Minus the he said, she said "objectivity" standard that allows the wingnuts to spread their lies, of course.

    •  Good point (none)
      It's true that I've been working with Jerome and Markos in their consulting biz - we met when I interviewed them for the book.
    •  asdf (none)
      Shouldn't that be disclosed when doing a promotional piece like this?

      If you follow the links to his blog it is disclosed. Indeed, reading the blog was how I found out about this connection.

      "...the definition of a gaffe in Washington is somebody who tells the truth but shouldn't have." Howard Dean

      by colleen on Tue Oct 12, 2004 at 12:05:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Nonetheless (none)
        This connection should be revealed by Jerome when promoting his employee's book, not on a link that you have to follow. If newsweek or NPR reviewed a book by an employee and didn't reveal that they were an employee, wouldn't you feel an ethical lapse had occurred? Again, I'm not trying to make a mountain out of a molehill, as I am a big fan, but just pointing out that we should hold Markos and Jerome (and xian) to the same standards that we would hold MSM to. If blogs want to critique traditional journalism, blogs have to be above reproach, especially when they reach the size and influence of DailyKos. Congrats on the book, xian - I will buy it and read it!
    •  It doesn't seem to be so. (none)
      Crumlish's info doesn't list any such association and it's a pretty complete looking list.

      There is a heaven, but ill never get there... i keep respawning...

      by Sandals on Tue Oct 12, 2004 at 12:07:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Bah... (none)
        Took me too long to read the links. Damn you anyways, cereal.

        There is a heaven, but ill never get there... i keep respawning...

        by Sandals on Tue Oct 12, 2004 at 12:08:23 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  incorrect (2.00)
        Crumlish's info doesn't list any such association

        Chief Strategy Officer, Armstrong Zuniga. Since July of this year I've been doing product management, operational reorganization, and marketing for AZ; as well as user-interface strategy, design, and review; and project management for a number of AZ clients, including IDI (DSCC), Grist Magazine, Common Cause, SEIU, and Oceana.

        I am currently working on an overhaul of the ArmstrongZuniga.com site as well as a user interface design review for Scoop, the primary application used for AZ sites. In addition, I work as a liaison with CivicSpace Labs to ensure interoperability among the various open-source progressive campaign and community-building software applications.

        "...the definition of a gaffe in Washington is somebody who tells the truth but shouldn't have." Howard Dean

        by colleen on Tue Oct 12, 2004 at 12:14:33 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  WHA ???? (none)
    I didn't get interviewed and
    I was devout Deaniac message blogger,
    devout DUer, devout member of CNN
    chatroot as FedUp....

    of course, I do have an unlisted
    name and number.

    Can't wait to read it. Congrats
    xian. :-)

  •  Still Too Small to Move the Masses... (none)
    ...directly, although maybe in local issues and obviously (Dean) in national startups. But I don't see the online community having either the social connectivity or the numbers to move the electorate as a whole.

    Connectivity is to me the defining problem of the nation since mass media arose. Sinclair is bringing us a dose of cold reality about the lifting capacity of broadcast vs the blogosphere.

    One more dose of reality from recent days, one drug advertising campaign was cited as running $3 billion. Compare to c. $2 billion for the entire Presidential race. This shows that broadcast systems, whether via print, air or packets, remain a huge factor in any democratic form of government.

    So for my money, as our society is increasingly an information system, we need to develop a Constitution-level conception of information generally. And we need to bring our Constitutional notion of "press" forward a couple of centuries, particularly our treatment of broadcast information systems.

    I feel the blogosphere's main practical effect in this cycle will be indirect, by influencing decision makers and news providers.

    But I'll offer a $75 prize for anyone who can find a way to connect the blogosphere to demographic groups such as poor and minorities that are very disconnected from us at the moment.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy....--ML King, "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Tue Oct 12, 2004 at 11:58:09 AM PDT

    •  Those disconnected (none)
      First of all, the blogosphere cannot make things easy for us in this regard.  If you want to help the poor,minorities,homeless, or others you really have to get off your butt and do it.  

      There are gazillion organizations to get involved with. Donate a computer, get involved with literacy programs. If you want to address digital divide issues specifically, than work toward computer literacy in your schools,and seeing that kids have access to computers in their classrooms. Computer classes should be part of job training programs. Fund libraries for online subscriptions.

      People who do not have access to computers suffer because they are effectively shut out from information that can make real changes to improve their lives, such as educational resources, legal information, and medical advice.  

      But beyond merely having access, literacy is also important.   Libraries could offer free database and websearch classes. Perhaps volunteering for such a thing  might be one way to get people to the library, plus informed on information technology.

      Getting computers into libraries offers access to the poor, but then you have to get people to the libraries.  You really have to take someone by the hand to do that.  That means getting out and doing the groundwork.

      •  That still leaves some disconnected -- (none)
        You write:

        "Getting computers into libraries offers access to the poor, but then you have to get people to the libraries."

        Though I've not had luck via direct approach, the above reflects a problem I ran into with Boston Public Library.  For some years they had a dial-up to their online catalogs, and the Internet_S_.  Within the last year or so the eliminated the dial-up (upgrading of software, hardware, allegedly).  I communicated to the #1 aide to the Library's president that they had, by eliminating dial-up, excluded shut-ins.  (I also pointed out that the "upgrade" put the shut-ins -- most being on limited incomes, in the position of having to upgrade their computers.)

        Note the word: shut-ins.

        Her response: "They can always come into the library to get access to the Internet."

        Did she not "get" the meaning of "shut-ins"?  Or was she avoiding the issue (in violation of anti-discrimination statutes)?  Complaint to the Library president detailing this fact was simply ignored, though the indicated statutes don't allow that option.

        The dial-up hasn't been restored, so shut-ins (and other groups) are now excluded, whereas they had not been.

        The obstacles are formidable -- bigotry, class bias, the monied and powerful.  I know of a progressive group in a minority neighborhood that is lobbying the Boston Public Library for a permanent library in their neighborhood.  So far, Boston Public Library doesn't seem able to "afford" it.  The Library does have, though, a "food court".

        A lie is halfway around the world before the truth can get its shoes on -- Mark Twain

        by jnagarya2 on Tue Oct 12, 2004 at 06:14:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  "at this moment..." (none)
      "...a way to connect the blogosphere to demographic groups such as poor and minorities that are very disconnected from us at the moment."

      At this moment YES, but not for long.
      As this movement evolves it will increase our knowledge and ability to react on the national and LOCAL levels.

      I have already seen smaller more localized internet sites reporting on politics and events in our very rural area. True those without the internet won't see the information on those sites, but the people that do, can now motivate others around them to action.
      Yesterday I bumped into a friend who lives 35 miles away. (thats relatively close out here)
      She was with two Hispanic women who work in various clinics with the low income spanish speaking community. (about 30% of our population)

      My friend and I started sharing information we discovered on the internet, the two other women were very interested and wanted to know more.
      Today I will send 'Selene' more information and of course she will pass it on to people she is in contact with etc. etc..
      The 'word' is getting out there.

      For rural America this is an incredible tool.

      "During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." - George Orwell

      by badgerette on Tue Oct 12, 2004 at 01:13:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Poll vote needed (none)
    Please, vote on this online survey for Kerry:
    http://forums.about.com/ab-tabletennis/messages/?msg=16229

    Let's call them by their correct name: fascists!

    by hidalgo on Tue Oct 12, 2004 at 11:59:26 AM PDT

  •  Critical Mass (none)
    I'm very pleased to see others use this term in relation to the current Internet-powered revolution.  I've used it many times in the past, mostly as it related to the Dean campaign taking off in a way that was impossible four years ago.

    Critical mass is about more than just numbers, though.  It also represents a diversity of ideas and skills coallescing and building to the point where something greater than the sum of its parts arrises and spurs further creativity.  So many things are hapening at once to drive this revolutioon that it truly is magnificent to watch and be a part of it.

    Click here to read more

  •  Don't Buy Books From Amazon (none)
    Amazon is a unionbusting company that puts profits before people.  

    At Amazon.com, one of two tech firms mentioned in recent unionizing trend stories, the death of unionization efforts can be directly attributed to job cuts themselves: Amazon axed 1,300 jobs last week, including those of 400 Seattle customer service representatives who had been conducting a petition drive to form a union.

    -- John Wilen, USAToday Week in Review Jan. 29-Feb. 2, 2001

    And how many of you remember when Amazon announced that all of its customer information was "inventory" and subject to sale to other companies if Amazon deemed it necessary to make money?

    You can buy this book from Powells Books.  It's a union shop, and the largest independent bookstore in the country.  Powell's offers great service, new & used books, searches, and a notification service for books out of stock.  And yes, I am biased, I've been shopping there for 30 years.  Powell's Books is a good corporate citizen as well as a good bookstore and should be rewarded on both counts.

    mp

  •  Internet More than Blogs (none)
    At the Pacifica Foundation, dissident reporters and producers used the internet creatively to defeat a corporate-style takeover just a couple years ago. Many here have probably forgotten the struggle at Pacifica. Pacific Board Chair Mary Francis Berry and some fellow corporate Democrats seized control of the Board and were attempting to centralize control, drive away the more radical creative people and possibly sell off larger Pacific stations.

    Pacifica owns five stations -- in Berkeley, L.A. NYC, D.C., and Houston, each with enormous licensed signal strength.  KPFK in L.A. and KPFT in Houston each have authorized signal strengths of over 100,000 watts.  Also at stake were many, many independent Pacifica affiliates -- mainly community stations like WORT in Madison -- that carried Democracy Now and the Pacifica Nightly News.

    In a sense, the battle for control boiled down to a struggle between Berry and the Board on one hand, and the volunteers and staff -- the content providers -- at the local Pacifica stations on the other.  

    In attempting their coup, Berry and her allies had what they thought was an ace in the hole -- control of the satellite, which was used to distribute programming to the Pacifica stations and affiliates.

    What happened, and what was revolutionary, was that the reporters, editors producers and techies -- disbursed around the country and world -- knit themselves together via the internet.  They didn't need Pacifica and its studios or its satellite.  These content creators organized the independent Free Speech Radio News, and when denied satellite access, simply converted their stories to MP3 format and distributed them via the internet.  Knit together via the internet, they were able to distribute their show to almost all of the Pacifica affiliates.  Eventually they created the relatively stable news organization that exists today and the show broadcast each weekday around the country.

    The final showdown occurred when Berry and her allies tried to move against Amy Goodman and Democracy Now.  Berry's Pacifica shut down the program, ordered Pacifica stations not to broadcast it, and closed access to the satellite.  Goodman and her colleagues were able to keep producing content and distribute it via the internet, where it continued to be broadcast by the Pacifica affiliates (and by Pacifica station KPFA in Berkeley which openly defied Berry).  

    This ability to "go around the satellite" and keep broadcasting what they produced is what kept the dissident creative community at Pacifica together.  That part of Pacifica controlled by Berry and her allies was an empty shell, controlling facilities and equipment but producing little or nothing of interest.  Berry's enemies used the internet to keep their act together and eventually were able to outlast Berry, defeat her corporate-style takeover and regain control of Pacifica for the local communities in each of the five Pacifica cities.  

    The point is that the internet gave the power to the people who had something to say, and who were creative enough to produce it.  It gave them a victory over radioland bean counters and bureaucrats.  Democracy restored; democracy enhanced.

    This aggression will not stand, man

    by kaleidescope on Tue Oct 12, 2004 at 01:11:09 PM PDT

    •  Not the revolution (none)
      "What happened, and what was revolutionary, was that the reporters, editors producers and techies -- disbursed around the country and world -- knit themselves together via the internet.  They didn't need Pacifica and its studios or its satellite.  These content creators organized the independent Free Speech Radio News, and when denied satellite access, simply converted their stories to MP3 format and distributed them via the internet.  Knit together via the internet, they were able to distribute their show to almost all of the Pacifica affiliates.  Eventually they created the relatively stable news organization that exists today and the show broadcast each weekday around the country."

      And they have a very tiny, tiny, tiny audience. If this system fights the broadcast system  on the broadcast systems terms, it will get hammered and hammered hard.

      What is revolutionary is the break down of the increasingly hardened line between "producer" and "consumer". In the mass world there are producers, and there are consumers. Consumers cannot produce, and producers don't know what consumers are really like. Each operates against the other, fighting over what economist call "the consumer suprplus" - how much the consumer will pay at maximum versus how much the producer will sell for a minimum.

      If this is just about a cheap way  to disseminate, then you will find that the right wing has the left beaten hands down. Email as cheap mass mail isn't revolutionary - in fact, it is reactionary. The internet as a way of distributing media cheaply is used by BC '04 aggressively - they have anti-Kerry material that is much more hard core than is seen by the major outlets.

      The conceptual error is to try and get back to "mass" behavior. People want to do this because "mass" behavior is what gives consumers permission to fight producers in the old system - boycotts, letter writing, mass marches on Washington DC. However, that form of behavior is well understood, and very manipulable. Why do you think that that Bush has loyalty oathes for his rallies? Because his people know that you have to block the sparks that could start mass behavior they don't like, while organizing "support our troops" rallies which encourage mass behavior they do like.

      What we are doing here is about something else, and something that does not rely on mass: authenticity. Authenticity is sustainability, it is also workability. An authetnic culture is not one tied down by copyrights. The power of the internet isn't to end run the gatekeepers and give an old type producer a chance to get a lottery ticket to "hitting it big". It is the ability to be here, day in and day out, creating society, culture and value.

      Moving the justification from mobocity to authenticity is the single most important paradigm step that a person can make. From that, much else follows quickly.

    •  Kos gets it: (none)
      "But that consensus is wrong. Republicans didn't get to where they are by ramping up every four years and taking it easy in the meantime. They have built a massive infrastructure, and it never sleeps, never rests."

      Authenticity. Not the ability to mobilize on one day, but the ability to be active every day.

  •  And to the extent (none)
    That they rely on mass media outlets like the New York Times, they behave like the many. And to the extent that they are "the many" they have only limited ability to generate political force. They can answer poll questions about who won the debate, and then get ignored because the media needed to spin it as a Bush victory, and needs the election to be a "dead heat". Which is a code word for "Bush is behind."

    One thing that the internet has to realize is that the mass media is very good at the cycle of building something up so that it is large enough to be tapped, and then chopping it down when it starts to act as if it is "many". The religious right, when it steps above this "many" threshold loses elections for the Republicans, and therefore works hard to stay below it in the "few to few". Few to few is where the power of the future is, not in "many". "Many to many" viral communication is "astroturf".

    What the blogsphere represents is something else: authenticity. It is this, not mobocity, which is the power of what is going on here. The ability to demonstrate that an idea, or a candidate or a social organization works and can then scale. But the large scale version isn't different from the small scale version, or at least, not as different as the small cult band is from the big arena band.

    This paradigmatic difference is important because when the blogsphere goes after being mass, it can be pounded very hard very fast. That is the war that the networks want to fight, that is the war that old line politics wants to fight, because they have the resources and the money to move people very fast and give them very simple messages.

    It is also, over time, a losing strategy - because the "many" aren't going to be here in May of 2005 or February of 2006. But politics will be going on in those months, and the few to few networks will be here. More over, the few to few networks will scale - where as, if current trends hold, it will take 5 billion dollars to fight the next Presidential contest and 20 billion to fight 2012. Not sustainable trend line.

    As long as we argue we are the "many" we are going to lose, because we aren't. Nor, if you think about it, do we want to be so. The "many" universe does not work for a variety of economic and social reasons, not the least of which is that the many universe always comes down to bottlenecked resources. Oil is the most visible, but there are others. All political fights boil down to life and death struggles. Politics has polarized because only one group can control bottlenecks such as the Federal Reserve, the Supreme Court, oil.

    Instead our task is to carve up the many into lots and lots of "fews" - communities where people respond not as members of the mass, nor as isolated individuals. As the "many" continues to be carved up - into niches - it erodes the power of the pop communications system. Replacing that many with our many will lose, because then the internet will just be another bottleneck to be "bought, stolen or coopted". It is only as long as there is value which cannot be extracted by mass techniques that this medium offers us a road out of the Sinclairs of this world.

  •  Politics -- the Future -- the Web (none)
    OK -- If you want to do anything successfully in Politics, be clear -- what you want to accomplish is to gain power and/or influence.  To do this, you have to be understood, comprehended, as an interest group -- that is a group intent on attaining power and/or influence so as to serve particular interests.  I really don't think any of the blogs have yet seriously addressed these fundamentals of political organization.  

    Second -- like it or not US Politics is organized around geography.  What congressional district, state legislative district, county commission district, ward and all do you live in?  Anyone elected to office is expected to represent the interests of that piece of Geography.  I may well enjoy exchanging ideas with someone in New Mexico or California -- but we simply don't live in the same political systems and even Presidential Elections are about which state electors we are voting for.  Too much of what goes down on the net doesn't seem to recognize the facts of how important Geography is to all this.  If the blogs on the net are going to become influntial beyond episodic issues -- something has to be done about organizing people -- connecting them -- within meaningful political geographic units.  I really don't see this happening, and I don't see many who appreciate how important it is.  

    What blogs can do, of course, is potentially counter some of the power corporate structures which are not geographically bound, have acquired in recent years, and used in their own interests. This is do-able --(Sinclair maybe) -- but we need to establish core places where both information and tactical ideas can be shared with some degree of security.  

    There are many more matters that need consideration, but these are basics.  

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