Emergic: Rajesh Jain's Blog

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The Second Superpower

April 1st, 2003 · No Comments

A new meme is taking shape. Writes James Moore in a must-read article:

There is an emerging second superpower, but it is not a nation. Instead, it is a new form of international player, constituted by the “will of the people” in a global social movement. The beautiful but deeply agitated face of this second superpower is the worldwide peace campaign, but the body of the movement is made up of millions of people concerned with a broad agenda that includes social development, environmentalism, health, and human rights. This movement has a surprisingly agile and muscular body of citizen activists who identify their interests with world society as a whole – and who recognize that at a fundamental level we are all one. These are people who are attempting to take into account the needs and dreams of all 6.3 billion people in the world – and not just the members of one or another nation.

New forms of communication and commentary are being invented continuously. Slashdot and other news sites present high quality peer-reviewed commentary by involving large numbers of members of the web community in recommending and rating items. Text messaging on mobile phones, or texting, is now the medium of choice for communicating with thousands of demonstrators simultaneously during mass protests. Instant messaging turns out to be one of the most popular methods for staying connected in the developing world, because it requires only a bit of bandwidth, and provides an intimate sense of connection across time and space. The current enthusiasm for blogging is changing the way that people relate to publication, as it allows realtime dialogue about world events as bloggers log in daily to share their insights. Meta-blogging sites crawl across thousands of blogs, identifying popular links, noting emergent topics, and providing an instantaneous summary of the global consciousness of the second superpower.

This is similar to a theme discussed by Howard Rheingold in his book “Smart Mobs” and what Joi Ito has described as an “Emergent Democracy”.

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