Well, I’ve just got to put a shout out here to Craig Newmark, founder of craigslist, for using the term “networked democracy” in a recent article. I’ve had the piece in my cyberreading stack for a few weeks and just got to it. The article snapped me out of my fascination with the U.S. presidential election and back to what this blog was really about–the potential of the internet to foster democracy.
Mr. Newmark gives a quick run down of a few of the relevant areas, including:
1. Barack Obama’s cutting edge use of social networking
2. Governmental sites that are enabling more efficient and widespread interaction with government
3. The potential of the internet for gathering charitable contribution to support various causes. For example,
- Yellow Ribbon Fund, which helps injured servicemen
- Adopt A Platoon, which provides assistance to deployed troops
- Any Solider. which channels support to soldiers in harm’s way
Another interesting website that I heard about in the spring is FreeRice, which is a kind of vocabulary flash card game where 20 grains of rice is donated for each correct definition.
4. The potential for establishing a better government watchdog functions. Examples include
- The Sunlight Foundation and MapLight.org seek to highlight the role of money in politics
- Pass223.com and Congresspedia.org provide information about the activities of government
- Legistorm provides a database of legislative salaries, gifts, travel expenses, and more
These are just a short list of sites that are now available for monitoring what is going on and making better decisions about who to elect and how to interact with government.