Thursday, August 9, 2007

Wanna Wiki Radio, Part II

...anyway! The point I wanted to make about Wiki's is this...and it is going to sound corny so put on your foil hat now....

I have experienced in my fifty plus years in the United States a slow and somewhat disturbing waning of opportunities along with what I consider to be affordable tools at my disposal - whether it be tools for survival or or inspiration, I feel a squeeze - a palpable loss of personal space. Much of what was valuable when I was younger is no longer available. There is something that has happened in my country that I find troubling. Something beyond the obviously twisted and horrible political situation. There has been a loss of ingenuity and inspiration. It is as if, as individuals, we have been beaten down and dis-empowered by advertising and speculation and fear.

I was adjusting to all of that loss as a cruel inevitability until I was thrown into the world of Wiki. Suddenly I'm faced with democracy, of all things! Someone is being naughty and we all have to figure out a decent way of dealing with the situation. We are all working on the project so there is sharing and suddenly I need manners, too! Mistakes are made. Now I have to have compassion for my co-wiki when they flub?!

Being hurled into a democratic microcosm has made me think along different lines regarding the Internet. My surfing, dipping and doodling about on-line this past decade has made me aware of how empowering it is. Now that I am in a virtual relationship with people I can't help but wonder if this isn't the one empowering tool that will allow people in the United States to regain their balance. People are communicating and sharing and growing in their passion for each of their little projects, whether they are involved with a wiki or just "into rating things". What I find astounding and different is that everyone can participate - meaning that all of the people who may be oppressed or timid or disenfranchised in one way or the other can have an equality. They may need guidance with the tools but it exists with a minimal amount of effort. New ideas and perspectives can be utilized once again in a brand new way in America. This is what I always expected my country to be about and it is the one thing I miss about my modern world...ingenuity and inspiration. I think the Internet is as big as the advent of the printing press and will be just as threatening to the status quo, at some point. One can only hope.

Democracy is hard..actually, it's a huge pain in the backside but it is also food for individuality and it begets freedom and fantastic opportunity. Who among us does not live a fuller and more meaningful life as a result of democracy when it works well? well, who among us doesn't enjoy the occasional joy of sporting foil hat? ...You know you want to.

1 comment:

piper said...

The whole concept of the virtual commons is fascinating -- open source, wikis, 2nd life -- all these shared resources where the behaviors and policies are decided by need as they evolve. No central governance. A shared, community-driven approach to knowledge rather than top-down authoritarian. I applaud all these efforts.