grassroots

Internet in the USA: It is still top-down driven

Over on Huffington Post, there’s an article in which the author laments the missed opportunity for the White House to do it’s part in making social media effective

In an apparent effort to prevent marijuana legalization from again dominating the discussion, Obama’s next online townhall event will not allow participants to vote on their favorite questions for the president. But what does that say about the politics of social media? And will it even work?……………….The real political significance of the Internet is that it’s the one place where political priorities are spelled out by the people, unedited, uncensored, and allowed to stand on their own strength. The fact that marijuana legalization gains newfound momentum here is testament to the flawed political machinery of the past, not the quirks of the new social media tools that are just beginning to reshape political landscapes.

This is interesting because it is happening in the United States.  Usually, when one thinks of Internet and censorship, obvious examples like the Google & China feuds, or governments attempting to shut down facebook are what come to mind.  While this is not as overt, it is coming from the same mindset of fear or distrust of transparency.  Another thing that this demonstrates is that the internet revolution has not yet reached the point where it is driven and dominated by grassroot interests.  Traditional power structures are still the gatekeepers and can still set the agenda–but only at the cost of censorship (whether explicit or in a more calculated manner).