Thursday, May 14, 2009

Us Now: Democratizing democracy

I had the good fortune to be invited to the online launch of the Us Now documentary this week. Here's a clip:

It's a film about what the web reveals about ourselves - that co-operate is what we do - and what that means for government.

You can watch the whole thing (it's an hour) below. Or by clicking this link.

A particular highlight for me is one very high profile member of the uk government cabinet lost for words at the idea that the democratisation of publishing, distributing, creating, marketing (and critically, organising) could be deployed to democratize er... Democracy.

I won't spoil that treat for you because I'd love for you to see it yourself. Ideally I'd love for you to share it with someone who NEEDS to see it rather than someone who wants to. But do a bit of both. That way we'll get to more of the 'needy' through the 'wants!'

The film features lots of Clay Shirky (my personal favourite communicator on group forming network theory and the co-operative web) and Don 'wikinomics' Tapscott. (If you like your Clay Shirky talking heads bits, here's an interview I did with Clay last Autumn).

Us Now offers many examples of successful co-created businesses, such as zopa and ebbsfleet, challenges many traditional ideas but, for me, stops short of going beyond extending the empowered-shareholder model of co-created businesses.

But that's ok. This film is for those who need it. Slowly slowly catchy monkey.
But there was another jungle creature in the room. And the elephant on the impact of the globalising social web on politics is a mammoth:

Each nation's party system is a construct of the mass production age and the broadcast of one-size fits all ideology (who needs a lowest common denominator party in a world of self-organising adhoc communities of purpose?)

But of even greater challenge to our legislators is how self-organising cuts across state, national and religious boundaries.

The network disrupts where-ever it touches. And its reach is global.

Us Now was shown simultaneously in Harvard and at The Curzon in London. I was in London at the event staged courtesy of The British Council and thanks to an invite from Dominic Campbell. Chris Thorpe has been responsible for getting the entire hour-long film online.

Us Now from Banyak Films on Vimeo.

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The rate of change is so rapid it's difficult for one person to keep up to speed. Let's pool our thoughts, share our reactions and, who knows, even reach some shared conclusions worth arriving at?