A New Democracy
In a time where 128 million users actively sign onto Facebook in the US, and real-time information is being shared globally, we have disrupted the rhythm of communication. The open-source information economy has come to define community activism as well as business development, yet there is an unsettling paradox in the limited capacity for the internet to enable citizens to rely less on central bureaucracies and more on citizen and community initiative.
Looking at the transformed social order, we have the means of effectively and efficiently connecting and reaching more people than ever before. Yet, amidst technological marvels, the citizen-government relationship is still dependant on outdated methods of surveying, polling, and petitioning in order for our government to address our needs. Though we have reached the point where the open-source information economy has made social interaction the front line of disaster response, a new political order has not been made. Will we wait for a disaster to strike in order to realize that we have the power to make government more effective?
There is an untapped world of citizen collaboration waiting to go viral– we just need to make it happen. Virality has the power to reach, just like how Psy’s music video for “Gentleman” reached 100 million views in 3 days, or how the web jumpstarted Occupy Wall Street into a national movement. The world has seen how powerful these social connections are and it’s time to open the confines outside of Instagrams and grumpy cats.
Just as technology has disrupted social order, the political implications of rapid mobile communication are that we now have the power to diffuse information (thus power) from larger institutions to the individuals. With this, we can now depend less on government to give us what we need, but rather solve the problems ourselves. Though, as citizens, we have the power of numbers, if unorganized and without a common purpose, we are but a million independent voices all speaking different languages.
As we successfully integrate the Gov 2.0 culture into our web-lives, we reinvent the concept of government to the 21st century standard. We can rebuild trust in the citizen-government relationship as we move towards a future that is open-sourced, transparent, and simply more efficient.
Rest assured, we can create a movement in citizenship that represents a third option in American politics.