Today I received an email from Nico MacDonald which pointed me to an important post he wrote on whether or not the Web can change society. I plan on reading Nico’s blog moving forward. The guy is a thinker. This particular entry can be found here:
I agree with much of what he says: society changes society, technology doesn’t. But look at this simple act of communication. I found Nico, read him, learned from him, and have been inspired by him to opine. And, I’m not doing it in a one-to-one email. I’m doing it on the searchable web. Society does changes society. Absolutely. However society is made up of people, and as the Web allows more and more of these people into the process of governance, the change may change. Or, inaction may turn to action.
Our loftiest goal at Zude (my employer) is to give the Web to all the people. Where a kid can write a school paper about the invasion of Normandy and get first-hand information, through a dialog, with someone who actually landed on the beach. This can happen not just because of search, but because a new class of people — those who heretofore have not had a web presence – can now have a tool by which to publish their thoughts online. The Web can break down social gerrymandering on a massive scale if used correctly. (Why do you think North Korea is so afraid of the Internet?)
Democracy gives all the people a voice and a vote. The Web and Web 2.0 technology brings more people into the process.
Stay tuned for more on how the Web can create societal change. And thanks Nico.