Micah Sifry is trying to get his head around the implications of the Facebook experiment in digital democracy. I think it’s inevitable.
In the 3d world, a landlord doesn’t have the right to appropriate a tenant’s furniture. In the online world, if tenants demand rights and organize, they will eventually get them. As I wrote in the post linked above in response to this Shirky post, an online social network resident is like a medieval serf who is bound to his land and has painfully few rights. A combination of changed economic conditions (greater mobility) and changed political beliefs (government by consent of the governed), could transform the relationship between members and hosts, just as it did between rulers and ruled in the modern era.
Online tribes are mobile. We don’t love migrating, but we do it occasionally, because the environment is better — could be usability, functionality, or terms and conditions. The digirati tribe moved from Friendster to Orkut to Facebook. My civic project mailing lists have moved from Yahoo to Google groups in the last few years. The member revolt on Facebook could be part of an overall change in expectation about the relationship between digital landowners and digital tenants.
p.s. I saw Micah’s tweet but haven’t read his article on TechPresident yet because the site’s down as on Monday night and Tuesday morning. Will read when the site is back up.