Why i blog – revolution of the ants

there’s been a lot of passionate debate in the comments on this blog about the political topics i’ve raised like torture and the upcoming execution of tookie williams. i realize that politics has always been considered outside the business realm, and that many of my internet business friends feel it’s not their place to comment publicly about their personal politics.

i want to encourage you all to reconsider. we’re in the middle of a silent revolution. we’ve seen it happening in financial markets through shareholder activism which started with lbo’s and has progressed to the point where no F500 board room is ‘safe’ anymore. i applaud carl icahn and lazard for going after time warner and look forward to the day when shareholders are no longer held hostage by corrupt boards.

in fact we’ve mostly seen the revolution happening in business. it has yet to succeed in the political realm. i’ve blogged about how my friend matt gonzalez’s campaign for sf mayor showed the power of the ants (he lost by 2% with no funding); and about how howard dean’s campaign showed the power on a national scale (more donors than any campaign in the history of US politics). 

here’s my argument why you (internet business friends) should start caring more about the political revolution. the universal public network has enabled massive and immediate swarming. these swarms (like myspace, the facebook, craigslist) can happen overnight, and are reshaping  markets.

there is a political undertone to a lot of this. you cant empower people and avoid the question. you cant let them self govern their community online and avoid the question of offline. we already see a connection on craigslist between community values like ‘fairness’ – as in what is a fair profit for craig – and trust – being wether we should let this site house our activities.

you cant fake it. i dont know what this means for news corp owning myspace. maybe the exception will prove a new rule. maybe i’m seeing the world i hope exists, but i dont think so.

it’s only a matter of time before a site comes along that enables the ant swarm to have political power. I guess this sounds like howard rheingold’s smartmobs. I don’t know the form it will take. But to ignore the political side of sites like craigslist is to only see half the picture.

and that is why i ‘blather’ on about politics. i will follow the ant revolution wherever i see it with the expectation that one day it will be so pervasive that everyone will join in this imporatant dialog.

one last point. this opportunity goes far beyond money. our great country was freed from one form of bondage in 1776. what we all realize now is that this revolution only applied to one class, white and mostly rich. this next revolution will apply to everyone else.

do i have a ‘right’ to talk about this as one of the white priviledged class? why the fuck not? is it hypocritical of me to ‘whine’ about this? i’ll ask you, isnt it hypocritical if you’re not asking this? while i try to be receptive and respectful of both sides, anyone who tries to argue that our country offers equal opportunity to all comers is smoking crack. ‘life just isnt fair’. yeah, it wont be fair when you get shot on the street by one of those unfortunates either.

lets start getting our hands a little dirty. lets get out of our comfort zones. dare to be ‘inappropriate’. fuck your ‘readers’. tell them they get what they pay for. dare to be the first ‘yahoo’ to cross the line. take a stance. didnt seem to hurt craig.

we have so much power it’s scary. more frightening is how seldom we use it for anything that matters beyond our silly web 2.0 world.

"baby, you live in cage with golden bars"

charles bukowski, barfly

4 thoughts on “Why i blog – revolution of the ants

  1. You say that “it’s only a matter of time before a site comes along that enables the ant swarm to have political power.” i urge you to take a look at clipmarks (www.clipmarks.com) because i think it’s doing that for all topics, not just politics. however, as long as you’re talking politics, look at the clipmarks that have been posted with the tag “iraq” and click on the comments links to see the conversations that have followed http://clipmarks.com/tags/iraq/. In some ways it’s like a drudge report that everyone/anyone can easily contribute to about any topic. Would love to hear your thoughts on this.

  2. I decline (generally speaking) to decline to talk politics on my own blog (space4commerce) for a few reasons.
    I don’t want to give the immediate impression that I’m some kind of frothing at the mouth ideologue.
    I’m not – but reasonable opinions get drowned out by immediate first impressions, which then color all interactions after that. I want people to buy into Liftport’s idea first, then debate politics.
    This would not be a problem if politics were not so polarized; blame ideology on the Left and Right for that.
    Me – I have no ideology. I want to build things, I want our species to be space-faring. This calls for ruthless practicality.

  3. Mark’s conviction rings very true and you can by the last company he founded, Tribe, that his convictions here come true. Tribes in effect are all about people expressing their true feelings on areas of passion and interest. While Clipmarks seems indeed interesting, there’s a greater sense of contributory reputation built on Tribe for people to invest in.

  4. The govanator does not have the time and or balls ( and you thought steroids were good for you) to give a speech, we wouldn’t want him to miss his 9am tee time now would we?

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