In short, the internet represents the greatest opportunity to liberate people’s talent and capacity, regardless of their birth or background, that the world has ever known.
Originally posted on PandoDaily:
History teaches us that social movements happen when people from different groups cease to see each other as fundamentally different and instead begin to include each other in their sense of shared experience and culture. As the Internet matures, it is developing its own shared culture, open to anyone, distinct from the analog world, and increasingly important enough to people that they are willing to defend it when it’s threatened.
The last few years have shown the emergence of a new class of global power. This is the power of spontaneous, citizen-led, self-organized movements. From the campaigns that come together to influence shifts in business policy on Change.org to the digital support networks that find ways to aid on-the-ground Middle Eastern revolutionaries to the dystopian post-modern hacktivism of Anonymous, the global citizenry of the web is flexing its collective muscle to show that groups of people, unconstrained by the boundaries of physical location, can rapidly become self-organized armies.
In some cases, the Internet is just a tactical tool – simply enabling a better, more efficient, more targeted aggregation of sentiment that would still exist otherwise. But increasingly, the activism on the internet – most notably the protests against the SOPA and PIPA legislation – reflect not just the tactical opportunities, but also the distinct values of internet culture.