Dan Gillmor’s We the Media offers interesting perspectives on the way technology is shaping the way both professional journalists and amateurs get information out. He talks about the ways information can be spread across the world at a very rapid pace. This can help citizens from being caught into a cycle where big business and big government can hold them down.
He offers various examples in chapter 3 about ways technology, including the Internet, has helped regular people gain the upper hand. This includes Internet groups that help each other find better and more efficient ways of doing things, ranging from fixing cars to gaining an edge in a prize giveaway, and even alerting each other of possible infectious outbreaks like SARS in 2003 in China.
Gillmor also talks about how he believes the Internet and its users have become watchdogs of both government and journalists. Gillmor questions the extent of someone truly behaving as a watchdog. He believes people might switch facts around and totally misrepresent intent. This is something that needs to be watched in the Internet now and in the future.
In chapter 5 Gillmor dives deeper into how the Internet has allowed the political process to enter into a forum it has never seen before. He chronicles Howard Dean’s grassroots movement to near Democratic presidential nominee. The Internet is now a tool where candidates have the opportunity to gain momentum and campaign finances in small donations. This is a way to help candidates gain support while listening to their constituents in whole new ways. The use of the internet seems like an excellent tool to use, allowing young people and others to become more involved. The only problem I foresee is if people will soon tune this out like many other commercial tools and see it as propaganda or will both the political figure and the users treat this as a way to begin true political progress.
He brings up how the candidates should become more involved in this process, rather than having supporters running the show entirely. What do you think, how would you like to see candidates more thoroughly use and embrace technology? Should they blog about the topic at hand and deliver their political stances in a more detailed way? Would this be a good option for them and for you?
Links to politicians websites