I just got through sitting in on the Emergent Democracy BOF. It was a very interesting event. One thing that may become more important when we see more aspects of this become clearer is the multi-modal approach. There were some very good speakers but they also tend to take up the time. We all enjoy listening to them, but we also had to keep an eye on the chat room because there were other voices speaking here. There is no 1 way, 1 tool that tips the discussion or creates the group that accomplishes things.
Different people respond to different things. That is why we have different media now. But the only way they can really act together, to have their ideas amplify by simultaneous expression, is through the control of multiple media by one entity (i.e. government, Disney, Fox). These are very powerful organizations but they are top-down and can not maintain the nimbleness of a bottom-up emergent approach.
For what this approach can do is permit simultaneous (or nearly so) application of multiple methods to flow information. I have seen this work quite well by the use of ALL the tools, not just one. So there is a mailing list, a web site, a blog, a chat room, and even typical media such as print, all working together to AMPLIFY the message, in real time. That is what I saw in tonight’s Emergent Democracy happening. It has to be multi-modal in order to capture everything. You are reading an example.
I never felt like speaking up in the group that was present. This is what I would have said if I was not a biologist masquerading as a technologist, had not been intimidated by having David Isenberg sharing my extension cord and was not fascinated by Howard Rheingold’s irredescent footware.
Maybe everyone else’s ideas were better. Maybe not. But I can write material in the blog format because I know that it will only flow outward if it has content that has value. If I write material that is of no worth, no one will want to read it. What we need to do is make it easier for material of worth to flow outward. Not so easy but it is happening now, just not as efficiently as I expect it to on a few years. What I have to say RIGHT NOW about the Emergent Democracy should be linked to everything else that is being discussed both in and about this happening. All the modes available must be connected, to facilitate the flow. Because people react differently to different media, we need to incorporate all these modes into the tools of Emergent Democracy. And it need to be simple.