First, a new medium becomes an extension of the old ways. Politician’s speeches on websites. Then gradually, new ways emerge. Internet is used for politics in ways hitherto impossible. NYT reports an interesting new way of doing politics.
The Pirates’ insight is that the Internet is both message and medium. Young Germans, who spend large amounts of time online, care deeply about government attempts to regulate or monitor their activity; at the same time, the Internet offers a way for the party to completely upend German politics.
Using a software package they call Liquid Feedback, the Pirates are able to create a continuous, real-time political forum in which every member has equal input on party decisions, 24 hours a day. It’s more than just a gimmicky Web forum, though: complex algorithms track member input and generate instantaneous collective decisions.
Of course, on some level Liquid Feedback is a gimmick, an effort to get young people interested and involved in the humdrum of German politics, outside the campaign season and even off line. Whatever it is, it works: late last month some 1,300 members trekked to the small northern city of Neumünster to elect a new executive board.