This quote from Emily caught my eye:
“We have moved, almost without noticing, from the age of representation to the age of participation, and there will be a fairly bumpy ride whilst we all adjust to it. Oddly, it is the representative institutions, such as the press and parliament, which should stand to benefit most from the opening of discourse, but are actually most confounded by mass participation. Denial has been a frequently adopted strategy but that hasn’t seemed to pay dividends.”
The problem is as I’ve outlined before, is that participation (e.g. social media) and representation (politics, policy making) currently work in ways which are opposed to each other.
With representation you have to be chosen or elected before you can speak. With participation you speak on your own behalf without getting permission first.
Occasionally people have asked me “what gives you the right to comment on and create forms of social media involving the BBC?”. One of my answers is simply that in this case I happened to be a witness.
A crowd is not the same as an elected body.
Once they are elected, or appointed, politcians and policy makers don’t see the value of the wisdom of the crowd, or the value of participating directly themselves.
Media e.g. the press will be quicker to adapt to “the age of participation” than policy makers and politicians.
N.B. This excellent blog post by David Willcox also seems relevant.