Clay Shirky's talk at the recent Personal Democracy Forum is now available to view. He tells three stories then summarizes his 'findings' as follows:
1 - raise the cost of communicating
email is cheap, blogs are cheap, comments are free but maybe if you made them real comments instead of anonymous comments you'd get a better (i.e. progressive and not just noise) discussion. The commitment needs to be there
2 - get them to do something other than send an email
with a higher group commitment, there is more action and less overall signal (i.e. volume) but a high quality signal
3 - assume factions, give them a place to play
"Once you assume there is no such thing as a special interest group, all groups are special interest groups".
4 - regard elected representatives as partners and not targets
here, here! By creating the targets, the conversation tends to drift to a tone where getting the representative involved becomes difficult. The signal to noise ratio is too high a bar for entry.
You can watch Clay here:
If the sandbox is set up properly, there is real play (i.e. learning through play) with fights less likely to develop What are your take aways?