Thought of the Day
I thought I'd toss out the following to y'all.
Clearly I'm in love with the power of information and the importance of spreading knowledge. The ideals of the first amendment, the marketplace of ideas, the transformative power of truth on individuals and society--these are big inspirations to me. There are certain models we're sort of taught in school--that freedom of information leads to societal corrections, that discussion is the first step to progress, and that the public forum amounts to a constant source of constructive
criticism. But the implementation of these models seems increasingly broken to me. (I'm not saying that it's more broken than before--I try not to buy into nostalgia--but that the break is more apparent to me.) Our lives and society seem very suboptimally arranged for people to take information and do something
with it. Long-time readers know that I love blogging about charities and good causes, especially those with a Paypal button, and one reason is because it's one of the few web mechanisms which I know
translates knowledge into action. All too often information is entertainment, not GI Joe style battle-halving knowledge.
A lot of people, especially journalists, like to consider the question--what does it mean to be an informed citizen? But the answer to that question itself rarely seems informed by concrete measurements of what a citizen needs to do
with information. The standard answers: Vote, write letters, protest and start or volunteer at or donate to an organization. What else
? How to decide? How to prioritize? How to do these things effectively? I mean, there are so many possible ways of making a difference. Is there a way to figure out what's the most efficient combination of actions a concerned citizen can embark upon? How do we turn readers into participants--not just in the creation of media, but in the running of society? Some of these ideas are being addressed by Joe Stange of the Participant
, who sadly, is on hiatus from blogging. I'm just looking for more ideas, more links, more thoughts. Yes, that's right, more information. It's the thing I know best, so I would really like to make it more useful.