One of the largest complaints a majority of citizens here in the United States have today is that for whatever reason they don’t really have the opportunity to make a difference. Especially when it comes to the political actions of the very government which is designed to serve us.
During Abe Lincoln’s great Gettysburg Address – he stated that our government system is a one that is
… of the people, by the people, for the people …
Today the “by the people” really can only occur during election years (theoretically). I know that I can write a letter to my congressman or go door to door to get signatures on a petition – I am fully aware of the chain of command. The problem is – that not only does this type of message take long to deliver (unless you are personal friends with a congressman) the message is a one way message. No one but my congressman (and probably not even the congressman but rather a deputy director or associate) will see this message.
If that congressman is supposed to make decisions based on his/her constituents then this current system needs a boost. Especially with over 300 million people equally guaranteed a voice.
In comes Social Media!
With Twitter, Blogging, FriendFeed, SocialMedian or any of the other Socially aware sites out their today (and coming in the near future) we are hopefully seeing a radical change to this paradigm of communication.
I have been turned on by a rather amazing phenomon which was started in late September/Early October by the makers of Twitter. They created a special site called Election 2008 (http://election.twitter.com) which gave site visitors the ability to view real-time Twitter “conversations” happening all over the world. It was truly remarkable and has lead to some more open sites like Monitter and TweetGrid which allow you to monitor the conversations on any topic.
So while I sat there yesterday listening to the 3 CEO’s of our great auto industry grovel for cash to withstand this economic downturn – I couldn’t help but notice Senator Dodd flipping back and forth between ‘auto industry’ and ‘auto bailout’ on www.monitter.com with his iPhone – tilted oh so slightly as to “pause” the stream when an interesting question arose from the community.
We truly do live in an amazing time. Truly historic.