When I came back from talking about Emergent Democracy at Howard's Cooperation Studies class at Stanford, I saw a post about Government 2.0 (my first "nofollow") -- and shot this off in haste to the Extreme Democracy editors:
Seriously, there needs to be a concerted effort to slam this consumption-based model of emergent democracy.
I implore you to read the whole thing by Jon Lebkowsky at WorldChanging about William Eggers on "Government 2.0", or politics as "constituent relationship management" vs a politics of democratic deliberation.
So while nonprofits and campaign organizations are still focusing on top-down organization to raise money and build less informed support, other groups are working to build environments for a deeper kind of democracy that's based on collaboration, talking, listening, and learning, much of it mediated by social technology. I can't imagine that democratic social networks will quickly replace the consumption-based model, but we may be seeing sustainable evolution.
Mitch Ratcliffe opens his Notebook, to summarize William Eggers' Government 2.0 argument:
Citizens become customers, but customers don't get to set the rules of the market. Instead, they make the best deal they can given the offers available, and that has nothing to do with government and democracy. It's a social Darwinist environment in which the most influential participants (them that gots the money) set the rules of the game.
All I want is a government that deliberates and cooperates with me, my groups and our voices in a way that apathy is irrational.