Personal democracy

Personal democracy

: I’m at the Personal Democracy Forum; will be blogging here and there. Andrew Rasiej, who put this together, just said that if you send email to the info address at Kerry’s campaign, it goes nowhere. Politics, he said, is in the position where the music industry was when it didn’t pay attention to the digital revolution.

: Gawd help us, while we wait for Bob Kerrey to arrive (who does he think he is, Mick Jagger?), there’s a debate forming on “personal” vs. “particpatory.” Arrrrgh. Rasiej, to his credit, flicked it off as semantics and not worth discussion.

: Rasiej is now interviewing Kerrey. He quotes the view that thanks to technology today, people are realizing that you can organize a movement without organizing a government. “What I see happening with the net is truly a dispersal of power,” Kerry says.

He says that years ago, government got 70 percent of its information from internal reports; now they get that much information from “the open source.” That, he says, is why it’s so disturbing that President Bush says he does not read newspapers. That means, he adds, that he has to be briefed on whether the Yankees won.

“I promise you that on September 11th the most important piece of information he got was by watching television…

“Today, anybody with a notebook computer has the pwoer to be an analyst.”

He thinks that the :30 campaign commercial will not go away but is lessening in importance as “people get information outside of the campaign” online.

Asked whether he is using the Internet in the 9/11 Commission, he says yes, but acknowledges a “reliability problem” and that he looks upon what he reads there the way he reads the New York Post.

On blogging: “Blogging’s sort of like gravity: It is. It’s a question of how you use it. How you connect to it, capitalize on its power. Anybody out there can put together his own newspaper. The monopoly is broken.”

He tells about giving an interview on the 9/11 Commission and he said “something I shouldn’t have said” and it got picked up all over major media because “every single one of them go to Matt Drudge in the morning” and they don’t want to admit it. “Say what you want about Drudge, he has become a credible source.”

Asked when elections will occur online, Kerrey says it can’t happen until Diebold opens up its source code. The answer is not paper ballots but open source.

Asked whether he reads blogs, “I read them when they’re actually called to my attention… It’s entirely when someone emails me and directs my attention to them.”

He emphasizes that success in blogs requires that “you know how to write” and have “personal integrity.”

: UPDATE: From one row ahead, Sanford Dickert sees what I wrote above on the Kerry campaign and email and he says it’s not true that the emails go nowhere. Every day, 10-15,000 emails come in and a staff reads them, categorizes them, and creates a report call “the pulse.” Emails do not get individual responses but they are heard in aggregate. (David Isenberg issues the correction on the backchannel chat.)

Hey, as we say on the Internet, personal democracy doesn’t scale.

: NEXT: I will blog if I hear something that perks up my ears as new; won’t try to be a blog of record on the event.