Abraham Lincoln, in his Gettysburg address used “government of the people, by the people, for the people” to describe the representative democracy which the dead at Gettysburg had given their lives in defence of.
How that description has been applied over the years has changed a bit. But aside from the advent of Radio and Television in the 1920’s and 1960’s, hardly has it been as much affected as in our recent past.
As Digital Technology has taken firm root in the hands of the powerful, so Social Media has, as we saw recently in Egypt, taken firm roots in the feet of the people. Thomas Tudehope and Steve Hopkins‘ already know this. Perhaps they are a bit like the abolitionists of Lincoln’s time as they attempt to influence government’s policies to those of the people they represent.
Thanks to the telegraph, extracts from disruptive speeches like “government of the people, by the people, for the people” took only hours to reach some of their target in Lincoln’s day. These days news organisations such as John Bergin‘s broadcast controversial speeches in their entirety to the whole world immediately. And then they share them online so they can be consumed, digested and judged in realtime, anytime.
We live in an age approaching hyper-connectedness where, it has been described, the
state finds its ability to maintain the smooth functioning of power short-circuited by the exposure of its secrets
Will embracing Gov2.0 technologies by politicians like Penny Sharpe mean “exposure of their secrets” becomes creating policy in public for the people? Better helping to get them re-elected by the people as it were.
Our representative democracy, even one slightly different than that of Abraham Lincoln, has yet another Election this week. The ability by the people to influence Government and policy before, during and after that election may be more or less than it was 150 years ago, depending on your point of view. But Social Media and Digital activity has certainly made it easier for those of us, otherwise distant from politicians, to have that influence if we so choose.
If you join Digital Citizens at the Shelbourne Hotel tomorrow night (22nd March 2011) you might find out how Social Media can help your political efforts be more successful. And who might be able to help you with them.
For just $10 (half to the Sydney Dogs and Cats home) you’ll get a panel of the speakers mentioned above. Ably curated by Kate Carruthers, herself a founder of Social Innovation Sydney among many other projects. The Panel will help you, we hope, discover much more about Politics and Social Activism in the Social Age.
Drinks are optional, but the bar is open, it is parched March after all, and will be sponsored for a time by local Cloud solution, Ninefold.