The Internet and the Possibility of Better Debates
We are closing in on the climax of another presidential campaign. Tonight we will have the first of three presidential debates and in a little over a month we will vote. Rather than offer opinions on a particular candidate – don’t worry, I have them, but haven’t typically used this space to share them – I’d instead like to take a moment and think about the political process, particularly in this “age of information.”
In this TEDTalk, internet-expert Clay Shirky invites us to consider what we can learn from the changes occurring the worlds of technology and science as a result of the new “open-source” culture in which we live and work. He believes that, if we’re paying attention, we might actually find help to create together a better political process.
Don’t get me wrong – these changes won’t always be easy. In fact, Shirky says that one of the immediate changes in a world where it is easier to share information is that there will be more arguments. The question Shirky asks is whether we can make them better arguments. Again, this puts me in mind of tonight’s debate. The question isn’t whether candidates should argue, but rather whether the caliber of their arguments will inform (or not) our larger political discourse.
Clay Shirky is an expert on social media and the internet, teaches adjunct courses at New York University, and is the author of bestselling Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations
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