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One form of frustration is channelled (Chaneled?) and herded, the other is direct and authentic. So they're very different in practice, because the latter sort can result in direct political action, while the former is limited to browsing, shopping and mooing.

I'll agree with AT that the Internet is underrated as a catalyst.

But I think it's also underrated as a medium of spontaneous collaborative action. Herr Guttenblag would never have been rumbled in the days of print, because there would have been no way for a group of people to:

Find copies of the PhD
Self-organise
Collaborate to find and summarise evidence
Share, publish and control the story

Effectively the Internet became Guttenbad's supervisor and peer review of last resort - and it not only failed him, it humiliated him. (Even if it turns out there was a political conspiracy against him, this still remains true; the conspiracy needed evidence, and it found it.)

This isn't something completely new. King Leopold of Belgium's criminal operation was toppled by a couple of dedicated journos. But they had to collect evidence, give talks, and write for print. They weren't hobbyists. And it took them years.

Now a group of enthusiasts can apply similar leverage within days - see also Wikileaks, Anonymous, etc.

So it's becoming easier to create and control a story without owning the media. That's not a small change - it's literally a revolutionary one.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Mar 1st, 2011 at 10:38:49 AM EST
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