Reader Nicolai wrote a comment on the blog telling me that I’ve been tagged (by name) for the first time, adding “how’s that for digital identity?” His comment led me back to a review of this book (in Danish) on his blog.
He kindly translated it into English for me:
The power of many
The story about the 1960 American election tells that JFK and Nixon debated on shows broadcasted on both radio and television. The story also tells that Kennedy lost the debate in the ears of the radio listeners. The convincing winner in the eyes of the voters who followed the debate on television was on the other hand Kennedy. Kennedy read and understood how to use the new media – television. He lnew that the media demands other playing rules than those that work on radio.
According to Christian Crumlish the Internet took on the role as the new media during the in 2003-4. And with a purpose of writing a book about some of the new methods and techniques that people use to create virtual communities Crumlish writes among others things about his participation on the Howard Dean campaign.
In The Power of Many Crumlish writes lively and engagingly about the Dean campaign and how they untraditionally took use of the new opportunities given by the Internet in a political context. Their mission was to get voters. And these voters should generate even more voters.
He also writes about different forms of social networks and relationships across geography and generation. And he writes about weblogs. A phenomenon, that floats through the entire book.
…the strange new word “blog” wasn’t coined until 1999, the buzz didn’t start till 2000, and the first big wave of political bloggers didn’t get traction until late 2001 in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. (Crumlish 2004:8)
It is with this phenomenon (the weblog) that the challenges for future democracy will find its strengths. And with Crumlish’ comparisons with the Gutenberg invention of the print press he describes the power that indispensably arises when people are given the opportunity to express themselves. And the Internet technology has opened a new dimension for freedom of expression – it has made it independent of both time and geography.
But it is not all about American election campaigns. Crumlish also airs other tendencies that are possible because of the Internet. Subject such as dating, locality – virtuality, environment, eBay, and pop cultural communities where you jointly can love and listen to The Grateful Dead or read Kurt Vonnegut.
And in continuing the pop cultural talk we are also presented to net marketing/ viral marketing/ WOM. And who other than Seth Godin with his publications on ideavirus among other things is representing this business.
I think Crumlish touches too much in this book. A focus solely on for example the use of the Internet and blogs in the Dean campaign would have been more than worthy of reading. This is also the subject on which Crumlish seems to show the greatest engagement in his writing.
Crumlish still blogs at thepowerofmany.com.
Crumlish, Christian (2004) The Power of Many: How the Living Web Is
Transforming Politics, Business, and Everyday Life. London: Sybex.