The power of shared awareness, pt 1 of many …

Posted: December 1st, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Ethics, Shared awareness | Tags: | No Comments »

Steven Clift:

the honest truth is that people have more influence when they generate new public opinion online. I saw this in E-Democracy.Org’s MN-POLITICS e-mail forum way back in 1994 and even more so in our local forums – http://e-democracy.org/if . Why do these spaces work? They have real voters within political jurisdictions communicating in public. This freaks out many elected officials because they can see it and they know the media does too.

Clay Shirky, Here Comes Everybody, p. 163:

The military often talks about “shared awareness,” which is the ability of many different people and groups to understand a situation, and to understand who else has the same understanding. If I see a firebreak out, and I see that you see it as well, we may more easily coordinate our actions – you call 911, I grab a fire extinguisher…. This kind of social awareness has three levels: when everybody knows somehting, when everybody knows that everybody knows, and when everybody knows that everybody knows that everybody knows.

I’d add: when I know that you know that I know, I also know that you’ll be able to hold me to account – you know that I saw the fire, and can judge my action or inaction in that light. (I read recently that participation in social networking regarding politics also increases people’s propensity to write letters to the editor – one civic version of helping to “put out the fire”.)