Published Date 09/06/13 20:02
The web is fundamentally a peer to peer network, as are human relationships. Let's look at a recent activist website built for the G8 protest in London https://network23.org/stopg8. It is a one way approach – a directing tool for a small minority of unknown and unknowable people to direct the majority of people, with limited ways for the majority to talk back or take part in the web organising.
Wordpress the tool used here is a a top-down tool, original a single user blogging platform, thus its useful for hierarchical opaque organising, which goes hand in hand with “closed security” minded geeks and activists - the problem oveasuly lies in the fact that such tools restrict peoples online involvement and this leads to a dampening and shrinking of offline involvement or the moving of open organising onto the closed web of Facebook etc. Wordpress is fine for a noticeboard site or personal blog but not for any form of self organising or group networking, its broken as a way of building a dynamic social moveme
A more obvious activist approach would be to use opentools such as wikis and forums, and self organising web spaces to build a creative movement “open security” model were people could could build “trust” by activity feeds. A tool for this would be single sign in site built on liferay such as http://visionon.tv
“Closed security” gives the dangerous illusion of anonymity were non exists, this both gives control to a small group of unaccountable activists and dampens self organising – the life blood of activism.
“Open security” widens ownership and builds spaces for creativity, its based on transparent trust networks. It builds security as the is no foles sense of anonymity – if you wont to organise something “spiky or norty” you whisper at the back of the pub.
The is no security in centralised activist infrastructure as you don’t know who actually runs them and you don’t know who is upriver of their hosting providers. The is a clear danger that this pseudonymous is mistaken for true anonymity and this danger comes at a clear organising cost. At the moment we have a clear failer of activist web culture, which can be seen in the shrinking of activism ( and its replacement with clicktivism) – post a comment if you would like to have a go at fixing this.