Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Democratizing or Reublicanizing of the Web?

In Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba's Citizen Marketers, much time is spent analyzing the democratization of the Web. But I ask the question, doesn't it seem that this democracy is being side stepped for the republicanization of the Web?

I completely agree with the basic tenents of their argument, in which increased broadband speed, availability of more tools and open source data sharing lead to the increased ability of citizen marketers to disseminate both compelling and entertaining information.

However, does this not reflect America as a whole in that the majority of people THINK we are living in a democratic society when in fact we are more like a republic? Is it not true of both our government and the evolving blogosphere that a small number of elceted representatives are (for the most part) in charge of the country/ blogosphere?

As with government, when citizen marketers defer much of their authority to several prominent Web figures (like our Digg's and Technorati's) they have transferred a great deal of power to a select few.

Understandably, many would argue that I am way off base, and that Web sites like Digg and Technorati (both of which I have quickly fallen in love with) are merely a representation of what the blogosphere is already chatting about, calculated through numerous complex systems of algorithims and that whole shpeel (like that word? me too). But, as with elected officials, how do we know that special interest groups aren't really running the show behind the scenes?

Maybe this is just my skeptical nature at work, or maybe I'm on to something(wishful thinking perhaps?). I would love to hear back from anyone who can support or even better, contradict my statements.

1 comment:

Elementality: Evan's PR blog entries said...

So I know we're supposed to move to bigger and better blogs for posting credits but I can't resist this one Jay! You bring up an excellent point, about our country and the blogosphere being republics, but the idea of a republic is conjoined with that of a democracy. In a true democracy sure, every single citizen participates but in a country of 300 million, or the blogosphere of like 40+ million that would make things such as establishing norms, mores and taboos impossible. There are always going to be those who are elected or naturally lead the mob, it's the way of the world.
But why do you think it's a bad thing that the blogosphere is more of a republic?