David Pogue: I think new technologies have the power to change power structures. I’m not sure they’re doing it yet.
As everybody knows, things like governments and education and even corporate America tends to be several years behind the cutting edge; and there’s a lot of smart reasons for that. You don’t know if the cutting edge is going to lead you off a cliff or not. But there are definitely ways that we can and should be harnessing these things more.
I was just exploring the British government’s website. Do you know they have a website called e-petitions. It’s a Web 2.0 site meaning that the material there is provided by the visitors. It’s not something that the government hangs. It’s an empty space where visitors contribute. And e-petitions lets anyone start a petition about anything. It can be fix the pothole at the end of my street, it can be get out of Iraq, it can be whatever. And they’re non-binding. Nobody has to do anything about them. But the beautiful thing is that both the government and the people read over these things and they know what people’s interests are. They know what the zeitgeist is and what people’s feelings are.
And to my knowledge, we don’t have any equivalent system in this country [USA] yet. Write a letter to your congressman? Yeah, right.
So it’s a way to keep your finger on the pulse of the populace’s feelings and it’s a perfect use of Web 2.0 and it could change the power structure.
Recorded on: May 15, 2008.