Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

David Weinberger blogs about some of the negative comments from "The Net" to Howard Dean's blogging. He says:

David Weinberger
Before this, what would you have had to do to get the ear of a potential president of the United States? You could have a column in a national newspaper or you could get a hernia toting sacks of cash to the campaign headquarters.

Can we at least pause for a moment of delight before we become blasé?

I totally agree. This is SO MUCH BETTER than what we have today with other candidates. I don't think we need to necessarily "cut him a break" but I think we can be more encouraging.


a moment of serious delight:-)
My question for Dr. Dean didn't get an answer while he was guest blogging, and that's fine: I'm sure that, the more active I am, the more chances I'll have to get closer to a real dialog with a potential president than was ever possible before (for a regular person such as m'self)

The real question is, why aren't the other candidates embracing the Internet like Dean has? Even with Dean's out-of-nowhere fundraising success and surprisingly empassioned supporters showing the benefits of blog-based campaigning, the other leading Democratic candidates' websites remain flat, static, disengaged, and nearly useless. The candidates themselves seem to be determined to go down with the ship, so to speak, rather than change the course their camapaigns are on. And I can't for the life of me figure out why.

The fundamental lesson of Dean's campaign is that people will reject candidates and campaigns they cannot feel connected to. If you make enough people feel connected to your campaign, you will win. Period.

This form of connection is as cheap as they come. While it’s important to reach out using every avenue available, the time and effort candidates spend blogging will pay some of the highest dividends. In many ways, I think blogging has the potential to subvert the money game that campaigns are based on now. Instead of watching a slick 30-second TV homily about the greatness of a given candidate, voters can reach out and essentially touch the candidate personally. I know my own estimation of Gary Hart has gone up considerably since I began reading his blog.

It's sad that good candidates will likely implode this election year because they lack the agility or sense to change their traditional campaigning and move into the 21st century.


While I respect your contribution to technology; I am reminded of the fact that your home is in Japan and that you are not eligible to vote in our coming election. Therefore, I must take issue when you say things like, "This is SO MUCH BETTER than what we have today with other candidates."

The WE belongs to the citizens of my country, not Japan. I appreciate the contributions that Japan makes to the world, but I do not think that other countries or businessmen like Saudi Oil Men or other foreign nationals should just assume that WE is US (the United States) when it comes to the future of the greatest Nation in the World.

Perhaps you are a naturalized citizen and if so then I apologize. I just know that your home is not here, and as American I do become concerned when others outside the US (who are very wealthy, not unlike yourself) attempt to interject agenda or politics (even if it is ever so slight). As an American, the grandson of a Korean War Veteran, son of a Vietnam Veteran, and son of a mother born shortly after Perl Harbor, it is important for me to question someone who chooses to live abroad yet voice powerful opinion as to who should lead all of America here at home.

My only recommendation is that you consider this; as I sincerely respect your participation in democracy.

As an American, I do become concerned when my political leaders (who are very wealthy) attempt to interject agenda or politics (even if it involves the death of innocent civilians) in the affairs of soverign nations. American politics and politicians do have significant effects throughout the world. People that must live with the implications of our politics certainly have opinions, and, in the grand tradition of open debate, should be welcome and encouraged to express those opinions.

Regarding opinion, I'm not sure that I'd like to see any limitation imposed on anyone as to what they feel they may say, beyond the standard "be nice".

Regarding influence, it does seem unusual in the context of our politics for citizens to be exposed to the voices of those from other countries, speaking about topics relevant to us.

However, I'm not sure that unusual -- in this case -- is bad, and I'm going to address why for the specific "Weinberger on Dean" article.

The current American president has made clear that America is a force in the welfare of citizens worldwide; the situation in Iraq is, among other things, a clear demonstration of American influence world-wide.

The choice of the next president is up to the American voting citizenry, currently about 50% of the registered voters. For the next year and a bit, all Americans are expected to research the candidates, choose who they wish to support, and vote as they feel appropriate.

Things have changed from the past, where the choice of president affected mostly just Americans. With world-spanning political interactions a daily feature in the local paper, TV news, and blog media, America no longer has a clear separation from world events. I'm not saying that there's no boundary at all, either -- just that it's begun to change, as influence and information flow in and out of the country each day.

So, to my main point. In the hands of the American citizenry lies an awesome choice: who will influence the world next, as president of America? Those who will be influenced by the citizens' choice of president have a right to influence the citizens' choice.

Non-citizens don't have the right to make a choice, but they have a right to their opinion, and a right to express it; American politics no longer end at the borders of the country, but continue on out into all corners of the world. We're no longer an isolated country.

Perhaps now that blogging has begun to climb in popularity, there'll be a much stronger non-American influence in the upcoming elections. It'd be a wonderful thing to see.

The world has the potential to heavily influence the upcoming election. With the advent of blogs, everyone has a potential voice. Now it's only up to Americans to listen.

James: I am not a citizen of the US, but I am a global citizen. I once gave a talk on the failure of the Japanese democratic system. I thought I made a good presentation. Later, the former United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Mrs. Sadako Ogata came up to me and said, "you keep saying 'us', and 'we' when referring to the Japanese. You are a global citizen. Talk about the global democracy, not about local issues." That made an impact on me. After that, with the help of many others on the Net, I collaborated in putting together a paper called Emergent Democracy which continues to evolve. It is about democracy generally.

We have many global problems and who becomes the next President of the US and the process in which he/she gets elected concerns all global citizens.

I also believe that public debate is a very different form of influence than financial contributions or votes. I will not be contributing financially or voting in your elections. However, I will be voicing my opinion. I believe that your President will have to survive global public dialog after he/she is in office and I think that this should affect the opinion of voters.

Finally, it's already been stated by others above, but the US projects its rules, culture and force globally. How can "bombing Iraq to Democracy" be justified, but some kid in Tokyo expressing his support for a presidential candidate embracing the Internet be wrong?