They Rule… and are making connections where none knew they existed

posted by Brendan Hodgson

You want to galvanize a community, raise awareness around an issue, shape perceptions, and do it on a dime? Look no further than your local activist groups – those without the resources of large corporations to conduct massive ad campaigns and who instead rely more heavily on word-of-mouth, the creativity that comes with having to do a lot with a little, and the opportunities inherent in digital technology.

And it’s typically the community to whom I look when I need a boost of creative inspiration…

Recently, however, and what I have found more interesting, is how individuals and activists are increasingly (and creatively) exploiting digital technology, and social media in particular, to help make the connections that none of us might see otherwise… essentially doing the work that investigative journalist’s might have done in an earlier age. A recent example is The Real McCain, a site developed to highlight John McCain’s flip-flop’s (to use Jeff Jarvis‘ term) on key issues, and which I briefly referenced in a previous post.

Another, and perhaps more interesting example, is an older site that I was alerted to on Monday: Theyrule.net, which graphically highlights the connections between board members of America’s largest corporations – it’s like an earlier version of Linked In, except for, well, board members. Granted, the site has not been updated since 2004 (which is disappointing)… however, the expressed purpose of the site, that being to highlight “connections of power… not always visible to the public eye”,  is a clear example of how transparency is being imposed even at the highest levels. Claims the site: “The people who head up these companies swap on and off the boards from one company to another, and in and out of government committees and positions. These people run the most powerful institutions on the planet, and we have almost no say in who they are.”

Whether you agree or not is irrelevant. In the end, and so long as the information is accurate, the value in such tools is that we as citizens are left to make our own assumptions and arrive at our own conclusions based on what we see and how we ourselves use and manipulate the data.

1 Comment
17

Dec
2007

toplum

Good point

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