May 16, 2004

iLaw and movement

[Again, see Frank Field's index for notes and live transcripts]

Jay McCarthy had an interesting summary of my previous iLaw post:

Seth Finkelstein on his free speech work that was largely unfinished and how iLaw represents a movement to continue such ideas.

I raised an eyebrow at the word "movement", since it conjured up to me too many images of "The Movement" (note, I asked Jay about it, and he said he didn't mean it in that sense).

But it connected in my mind with part of the iLaw summary at Furdlog:

The Internet is what we make of it. There is no technological determinism; the Internet is shaped by the way in which we use it. ... If the Internet is not being shaped into the form we observe as being good, maybe we're failing to use it in a way that promotes "healthy" development in this space.

And what I said at the final session in commenting on a broad question about "What can WE do?" (from Furdlog):

Seth: It's not impossible for people to make a difference; it's just hard. The defeat of the state super-DMCA was accomplished by the grassroots just showing up! So, show up!

Whenever I say something like that, I'm acutely conscious to try somehow not be inane. I never want to come across like the vapid politician wannabe "Yes, I'm here to tell you, get involved! You too can be a part of the process, you can be a citizen, it's *yours*" That turns into snake-oil (and one result was far too may people were drinking Kool-Aid in e.g. Howard Dean, Joe Trippi, and Bubble Valuation)

But ... but ... there pathways where there's truth too. As I think of it, (remember, math/physics), it's a high-energy system which is in a state of flux and transition. And sometime you see a part of it whizzing by, and it's possible, relatively, to shove it into another trajectory (of course, that's a very dangerous game, since it's also true that the more energy it's packing, the more likely you are to get badly burned if you put yourself in the path).

iLaw was outlining all the various phase-changes going on in the Internet's materials structure, to be somewhat geekily poetic about it.

Which I suppose all leads to the missing nuance in much of what I try to convey - that the Internet can be shaped, a little, but this shaping is like dealing with explosive shaped charges. Because the arised from the intrinsic nature of the volatile and unstable status (and so can blow up on you!).

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in activism | on May 16, 2004 11:59 PM (Infothought permalink) | Followups
Seth Finkelstein's Infothought blog (Wikipedia, Google, censorware, and an inside view of net-politics) - Syndicate site (subscribe, RSS)

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