I started blogging in the early days of blogging on Radio Userland and tapped in to the excitement many of us felt about our new found freedom of expression. I wrote often about how the net via blogging now afforded Profs at small colleges with traditionally fewer supports direct access to an interested audience. I was taken by the early writings of pioneers such as Jon Udell who showed us how the media could be pryed open to include reporting from everyday folks and aggregated in useful ways.
And, there is no doubt that all that did happen and that so many aspects of life, including business (web pages, RSS), music (Pandora), academia (blogging) changed and flourished as a result of novel use of the web. Yet still, it seems that so many people continue to feel unempowered, disengaged. Influential blogging is owned by a limited group of people who manage to climb the google chain, music breatk-throughs to fame are possible but still difficult, and scoring big with an internet business is often equated to buying a lottery ticket.
So why hasn't the web achieved democratization? Why do so many feel that "having a say" is still for a select few who have managed to achieve high Klout scores? Despite tremendous access via cell phones, laptops, public access computers in libraries or cafe's, most people do not get to say what they think or to "vote" in any meaningful way. For example, why don't we really know how many in the Ukraine favor annexation by Russia? Or how many think the US has a shot in the upcoming World Cup? Or what people really think about celebrities running amok? Or about shrinking funds for state colleges and universities? Instead there is pervasive cynicisim that all that matters is what a select few think...that "what people think" is not really about "what people think" but more about power and money and control.
And so, to anyone listening, I'm wondering how the internet can adapt to accomodate the thoughts and beliefs of the many, rather than the relatively few?