A society is a group of people interacting and communicating towards a mutually-beneficial outcome. Communications, then, is at the core of what binds a society and communication has recently become an important social phenomenon, surfing a wave of innovative technology to become affordable, ubiquitous and, most importantly, bidirectional. Unlike previous attempts at wide-ranging communication, the Internet allows everyone for the first time in human history, to be both reader and writer.
Democracy is a mechanism for formalising the wishes of the members of a society. As such, it is another way in which a society communicates how it feels. The potential for technology to improve the democratic will has only recently become available but its potential is enormous.
Interest in the meeting point of human society and ways of communicating is not new. What IS new is the enhanced ability of ALL members of a group to actively contribute, using, but not limited to, the current “social” technologies of FaceBook and Twitter.
Others have considered these issues before us and we can only benefit from familiarising ourselves with their thoughts. To this end, I would like to suggest we all contribute links to and quotes from other sources of information and opinion on this exciting new “Techno-Social” world. We can read each other’s contributions and thus enrich our discussions.
I will start the ball rolling by pointing to an interesting site by Pia Waugh @piawaugh and Will Grant @willozap called Society 5. It was launched two years ago and has not really taken off so far, but that doesn’t diminish it as a source of some interesting writings on the ‘Social Internet”.
Pia’s a rather dynamic young lady in Canberra whom I have yet to meet, but whoi I follow in twitter and who inspires with talk about Open Government, Open Society and Open Information.
Pia and Will also mention, on their site, another initiative, also in its infancy, called “Distributed Democracy” which you may also find of interest.
I leave it to you to read and comment, but please also contribute your thoughts and links to things that moved you and so might move us.
In the end, it’s not important which of these many, halting attempts at starting a discussion succeed or fail. The beginnings of such a comprehensive subject as how we live together on our ball of dust will necessarily be messy, confusing, even cacophonous. That fact in no way reduces the importance of continuing the discussion and just talking together.