Friday, October 31, 2003

Feel the Power

Stanford Law Professor, Lawrence Lessig, writing for Wired, sings the praises of grassroots blogs and their potential influence in the upcoming presidential election.

Speaking in particular of the Dean campaign, Lessig states, "Enter the blog, a space where people gab. As implemented by most campaigns, it is a place where candidates gab down to the people.

"But when done right, as the Howard Dean campaign apparently is doing, the blog is a tool for building community. The trick is to turn the audience into the speaker. A well-structured blog inspires both reading and writing. And by getting the audience to type, candidates get the audience committed. Engagement replaces reception, which in turn leads to real space action. The life of the Dean campaign on the Internet is not really life on the Internet. It's the activity in real space that the Internet inspires.

"None of this works unless the blog community is authentic. And that requires that members feel they own their gabbing space. A managed community works about as well as a managed economy. So the challenge is to find a way to build community without the community feeling built."

Today the ecosystem, tomorrow the world.

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