Friday, July 23, 2010

Hmmm... The "Civil" in Civil Society, and the Emerging Social Web

I read open source leader Ben Werdmuller's blog post Blowing up Markets this morning, and have to thank him for making the connection for me between my passion for civil rights in the "real world", and my daily work with my team in creating a new social web platform.

I feel a blog post coming on about civil rights. privacy, and the emerging real human Metaverse on the web.  Thanks, Ben.  Thanks to Twitter and the Net for making it possible for me to find and be inspired by someone like Ben Wermuller. 

[What follows is an excerpt from....]

Blowing up markets

Ben Werdmuller — July 6, 2010

Power to the people
We’re going to be seeing a lot more of this, in all kinds of market sectors. We’re already seeing ridesharing sites become popular, for example, blowing up the market previously owned by taxicabs and making it available to anyone who happens to be driving somewhere. Effectively this formalizes hitchhiking, making it both safer and more efficient.

It all comes down to one simple rule: People want to be free.

The Internet is opinionated: as a medium, it inherently works to empower people and eliminate hierarchies in society. It shouldn’t be a surprise that the most popular Internet companies hail from California; their philosophies are direct descendents of the civil rights activism that took place there in the sixties and seventies. In many cases, it’s even the same people. (Or – and here I put up my hand as the son of Berkeley “radicals” – their children.)

Gatekeepers – companies, structures or processes that act as exclusive barriers or filters – are not long for this world. Where gatekeepers exist, they do so because the alternative was inconvenient at the time when the gatekeeper became established – not because they’re inherently better than an empowered population. Those organizations, companies, and even governments, need to look at themselves very carefully and figure out what needs to be changed, before those things are changed for them.

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