Saturday, May 26, 2007

How the Internet Helps Breed Participation in Democracy

There's a neat new site called (Overview from Techcrunch).

As I understand it from looking at the site myself, and from the Techcrunch article, it is essentially a social networking site with some unique features.

It is meant to be used to participate in groups, or "Changes", around political or similar causes. Much like Myspace and Facebook, users can post all sorts of material, such as pictures and video.

It goes even further than that though, in that it is now a platform for "citizen lobbying". While I personally have reservations about lobbying, I do see how it would be important for everyday people to take part in it instead of leaving corporations as the sole major lobbyists.

Lobbying has resulted in large corporations playing a larger role in our democracy than normal people, which is absurd. Democracy is supposed to be "for the people", not for the corporations. aims to change that (pardon the pun).

The site is now allowing members of "Changes" to pool money together to support a lobbying effort. This enables large groups of people to make large political donations and counteract the massive lobbying efforts of corporations. People who contribute money to "changes" will be able to vote on which charity or politician is best able to accomplish their goals, and then the money will be contributed to the top candidate(s), with a small 1% being retained by to sustain the website.

Members of a "Change" can also directly participate in lobbying on behalf of the change.

It is sites like this, as well as websites not necessarily dedicated to political commentary and participation (such as Youtube, Facebook and Myspace) that demonstrate how the Internet is wrenching control back from the rich and placing it in the hands of the people, where it belongs.

1 Comment:

Anonymous said...

If you think is interesting, you should check out Care2 (, which has been around for many years, and already has something like 7 million members doing this cause / activism stuff. They've got thousands of discussion groups (I even started one), plus profile pages and photo areas with tags so you can find other people whose interests are like yours. People organize events, do meetups, raise money for charity, etc. (I don't use the e-cards, but they have lots of those, too.) I like the Care2 e-alerts: I subscribe to the Environment alert, the Human Rights alert and the Animals alert. They're always giving me ways to help out, especially by writing emails or signing petitions. I also use the Care2 click-to-donate races, because you can make a difference with just one click per day; no money needed. I like that so many nonprofits already are using Care2, because I don't define myself as a single-issue activist. I'm interested in quite a few causes and Care2 is a clearinghouse of them, so I stay informed and up to date, which I appreciate.

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