Group-forming and democracy

Joi Ito convened a “happening” today — a conference call to discuss the emergent behavior of weblogs and how they could impact democracy.
Today, weblogs are limited as vehicles of political expression. People say their piece. Others comment. Maybe the mainstream media picks up on an otherwise ignored story (“Trent Lott”).
But it’s just talk. There’s no link between talk and action.
We need to add those links.
* People who meet through reading and commenting on blogs should have easier ways to make stronger ties. At a distance, through conference calls and synchronous chats, and in person, with face-to-face meeting.
* The LazyWeb is already spawning realworld collaborative projects like Austin Bloggers and the Blogmapping project. It should be easy to go from a brainstorming session to a persistent workspace.
* MoveOn makes it easy to read about a political topic, and then, with one click, make a donation or write a letter. This works for a centralized organization like MoveOn — these tools should be available for emergent groups in blogspace too.

In a TV age, most of us have forgotten how to organize. The religious right meets in churches every Sunday, and organizes political activity from there.
The rest of us have little or no common space to get together. We’ve forgotten how to influence society outside our living rooms and workplaces. We’ve given up, since the political conversation is mean-spirited shouting, and the system is owned by the rich and powerful.
While the world lurches toward what might turn into WW3, we’re drugged and sleeping.
It would be great to use blogging and other online tools to help us wake up and do something about it.

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