MT: Do you think political blogging/smart mobs are poised to start having a serious impact on the decisions being made by elected officials in the western democracies? If not what do you think needs to happen first?
I think theyâ€™re already having an impact, but not necessarily in the ways that either mainline bloggers or traditional power brokers might conceive. For bloggers, the blog/smart mob phenomenon is all about giving voice to the people; for traditional opinion-makers, the phenomenon is all about replacing reasoned debate with unwashed rancor.
I see the situation a bit differently. In the past, political decisions emerged from a “consensus reality” shaped by lobbyists, newspaper pundits, leading journalists, a politicianâ€™s staff, and of course other politicians. This “consensus reality” was the story these folks told each other about how the world works, what constituted a fact, what was worth knowing about and what could be ignored; the citizenry consumed that vision of the world, and accepted it â€” few people who disagreed with the consensus model had much of a chance of reaching more than a few dozen others.