Healthy & Free Internet
A healthy and free internet is important to keep the voices of everyday people heard. When governments and service-providers start censoring or shutting off internet an environment is created where freedom of speech is diminished.
Without internet, an individual or cause is forced to try to gain exposure through word-of-mouth or other traditional media outlets. The chances of getting national media exposure is very slim. An individual must first seek to gain local exposure and hope the PR helps the cause pick up traction.
Blogging and social networks have allowed people to share thoughts and ideas in realtime. Twitter, it seems, is the real place that news breaks anymore. Someone is at the event, posting as it happens. Never before has the worlds events been available this quickly.
This new landscape enables causes and ideas to gain traction much quicker, and without the aid of tradition media. Occupy and Anonymous are examples of two groups, though controversial, that exist and organize primarily through various and multiple web 2.0 platforms.
Political social networks
Political social networks and other web 2.0 channels are the next step in this revolution. Online petitioning sites, although having been criticized and labeled as "slacktivism", have proven very successful, causing corporations to change policies, among other things.
It is time for more platforms to be put in place that inspire and empower people. Half the population of Facebook and Twitter are complaining about the political noise being generated. It's time for places where that political noise has a place; where every user is interested in engaging each other and creating said noise.
The petition sites are great, but they lack the social and blogging element. You can create profiles, send messages and make connections, but other that that, users may only create and sign petitions. Where's the engaging debates and discussions? Where can users state their opinions and connect with like-minded people? Petitioning sites are great and have proved their effectiveness, but they're not a platform for debate and engagement.
Daily KOS is great. I see a bunch of passionate people creating diary entries that they believe in. They hope people will read these diaries and find them inspirational. They want to connect with people and spread their thoughts and knowledge. I respect people like that, it's what's keeping the internet healthy. Red State, at the other end of the spectrum, is another example. Both sites enable the users of their respective parties to voice their thoughts in an open forum.
What about a non-partisan platform?
But what about a non-partisan social networking site? Could a non-partisan social networking site even work? Surely the owners would have to swing one way or the other, and what if the user-base is primarily left or right?
Through the concept of user-generated content, a non-partisan site is possible. If the content is the content of the users, and not that of the social network, then the bias would naturally represent the users of that site. It couldn't be called partisan, and if the other party was complaining the only resolution is to attract more members from their side.
Having a non-partisan site, rather then a silo'd partisan site enables debate and a "clash of ideas". Don't get me wrong, I love watching political content being developed on sites such as the Daily KOS and other political web 2.0's. But none of them are truly non-partisan, and I feel a lot of productive interaction is lost because of it.
I'm not trying to get users to migrate from the Daily KOS, but to check out Votepedia. We are a politically-driven platform for online petitioning, online activism and empowering the voice of each individual. Consider it another outlet to extend your reach and voice. Inform our users about your latest diaries. You may find some amusing comments and interactions.
Our proprietary platform, which everyone is very excited for is currently under development. We are expecting it to launch sometime 3-6 months from this date. Our platform will be much more robust than what is seen on the Votepedia site.
Thank you all for your time!
I look forward to any comments you may have on internet freedom, politics in social media and web 2.0 or anything related to this!