Digitalocracy – - The New Melting Pot

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With the passage of the latest economic stimulus package and talk of bank and healthcare nationalization many people fear that the United States is becoming a Socialist country. Having grown up during the Cold War helps me understand this.

Our nation is known for rewarding individualism and mixing together very different cultures and ideas; we are known as the world’s melting pot. However, with the power of the internet and globalization, the digital revolution is taking that over.

This system of efficient communication that cuts across physical, financial and cultural divides has created a global melting pot. A new social movement is bubbling up and it is reflected in the changes around us.

Throw into the pot one part entrepreneurism, one part social responsibility and add a healthy dash of technology-infused-collectivism and, voila!

We have what I like to call Digitalocracy.

Captains of industry and our political leaders will continue to battle over how to solve the global problems facing us. The Digitalocracy just isn’t willing to wait for them anymore.

Instead they are using government and industry resources to develop their own solutions to social and economic problems. Often this results in a mixed social entrepreneurial organization, one which provides both positive social change and a source of revenue.

Consider the website EveryBlock.com. Every Block combines data culled from local government, industry and beyond to build a clear picture of what is happening daily on every major American city block. Beyond providing such useful, hyper-local information, the entrepreneurs behind Every Block are giving the technology away.

Under a type of Open Source Licensing anyone can use the software behind Every Block to create a similar site for little cost. The only requirement is that they adhere to a well defined set of social standards including the promotion of social equality and the free sharing of information.

Through this remix of free data Every Block empowers individuals to make a positive change in their community.

There are thousands of similar examples.

Google and Wikipedia have goals of providing all of the world’s knowledge for free. They clearly state their commitment to doing the right thing for society’s sake which is a concept that many in business and government have long since forgotten.

This social movement isn’t just about entrepreneurship; that is merely one part of it.

The foundation of this social movement is access to resources; the collaboration of individuals, industry, government and non-profits to encourage the free sharing of information for the betterment of the global society.

The Digitalocracy are concerned with transparency in government and industry. They recognize that hierarchy and secrecy are more often harmful than helpful and in the last election they acted as a global electorate to make their will known.

Thankfully the Digitalocracy are a diverse group, there’s no set industry or political affiliation; just a simple familiar mantra. In life you should be honest and do the right thing, always; you will be rewarded.

Andrew Miller is a WOSU Commentator and host of the blog – Elephants on Bicycles

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