The first keynote at PICNIC today was by Charles Leadbeater who repeated his usual ‘Power to the People’ speech and gave us a preview of his upcoming book. Ernst-Jan wrote an excellent article just minutes ago about his story.
Leadbeater is a great storyteller who knows how to keep 1000 people in a room quiet which is impressive because one of the things he promotes is user intervention. One of the themes he spoke about was the “Doing to me VS working WITH me”. We are all part of the generation that get things done to them by big corporations and government. Leadbeater spoke about his education where ‘Learning was being done TOO me’ and a visit to a hospital where the doctor will tell you he is working ‘for you’ but everything he does feels like it is being done ‘against me’. Now we are entering a new world where we, the consumer, patient, worker, are part of all processes and get to work WITH people who used to be solely in charge. The internet is the big enabler in this, of course.
After his inspiring speech Clay Shirky entered the stage to ask Leadbeater a few questions. His first provocative question was ‘Where WON’T this work?’. Leadbeater gave a few examples of which one was ‘You wouldn’t want your hernia operated on by someone who read about the procedure on the Internet’. Good point.
At one point Clay opined that the formula for influencing crowd controlled systems were too simple. Shirky:
“Digg is supposed to be a user controlled medium. But I know that if I post an article titled “the 7 Hottest Women in Science Fiction” it will reach the front page of Digg in no time at all just because the title has a number in it, has the promise of NSFW images and ‘Science Fiction’ in the title. There is only the impression of democracy…”
Lets find out if Clay Shirky is right…
Oh, and here is the undisputed #1:
Read next: Pssst Free Beer Tonight