Thursday, December 09, 2010

Don't blame Twitter for bending to 'the man' - we all know it'll make no difference

If you want an illustration of the fruitlessness, and indeed illusion, of control from the centre, just follow what happens with the whole wikileaks witch hunt as it plays out.

Some of the traditional corporations, legislatures and judiciaries (and more corporate dependent denizens of the web) have rapidly folded to demands from the centre (the US and other Western governments) as that centre lashes out against wikileaks sharing information the centre feels the rest of us have no right to.

I'm not here to argue the rights or wrongs of that, by the way, many others follow the intricacies more closely and are better able to comment on that than I.

What I do know is that when Mastercard, Paypal and even Amazon pull the plug on wikileaks you know it is because they have come under pressure from the centre. And that's hard to resist when you rely on the corporate norm for your paycheck.

Tonight the ante was raised as Twitter started suspending accounts and - remarkably - removed wikileaks from the trending topics.

Suddenly those for freedom feel even the open web and its uberlords are cowtowing.

Panic not. And don't blame Twitter, Facebook or any other pressured party.

I'm pretty damn sure the guys at Twitter et al are wise enough to the self organising nature of the internet to know that a blockage here and a restriction there is soon worked around. Intelligent networks have ways of reforming.

The internet was developed to survive nuclear war. I'm sure it'll survive the best efforts of even the most zealous of politicians.

Central control is not an option. Never was.

So if the guys at Twitter or elsewhere throw the hapless politicos a sop here and there - don't blame them. They'll be doing it with fingers crossed behind their back and in the full knowledge that it'll make little difference in the very near term - that the network will reorganise and self-organise around whatever restrictions it faces.

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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?