Feeds

Minister goes mad for Web 2.0

Miliband drinks the Kool Aid

Boost IT visibility and business value

Miliband lauds OhMyNews, the Korean "citizens journalism" site. But OhMyNews, as Koreans know only too well, is a nasty, partisan political operation - a kind of Fox News - that only flourishes because it doesn't pay its volunteer contributors. It profits from what's called "digital sharecropping". If this is a new spirit of volunteerism, then so is the Church of Scientology.

As for new modes of production, or a new spirit of sharing, Miliband makes a very common mistake. What we're experiencing is an explosion of low-cost recording technologies. Much of what they record - and what Google indiscriminately caches, like a listening bug in the corner of the room - was never intended to be recorded. Much of the rest was never intended to be "published" - merely spread among one or two family members or friends. The internet has given us "a telephone network with pictures", if you like, which we can all put to use. But to describe this as a new form of production is like claiming that the listening device is creating the conversations it records. Once one has made that mistake, it's very difficult to see things clearly again.

No wonder the Rt Honorable Member for Google (South Shields) is confused, for when some people fall into digital utopianism, they fall in all the way - and when they bob back to the surface, it's with what looks like a shiny, new, off-the-shelf belief system. From then on, it's hard to persuade the sufferer that they're fantasising about the world. Miliband has a fantasy version of technology, breaking off only to plug his "carbon trading calculator".

David George Millibourne

In keeping with the Web 2.0 rhetoric, Miliband's is religious. Take this purple passage:

Instead of citizens acting in isolation, unsure of whether their actions are reciprocated by others, feeling powerless in the face of large organisations and global change, citizens can feel part of a bigger project. They can create a shared willingness to act, their preferences can be aggregated, and can give rise to collective action as well as collective discussion.

And life has meaning again. We'll check the video at some point - and see if there were any hallelujahs.

But for a moment, let's take the Minister at face value. What politicians like Miliband and the Conservative Shadow Chancellor George Osborne - another web fantasist apparently cloned, as you can see, from the same incubator (Millibourne Industries?) - are describing is how they see society ordered. It's technocratic, and the role of the politician in this machine vision is merely to provide lubricant for the great, benevolent actors.

Unfortunately, the near-identical policies of our parties are designed to make life easy for them. Planning controls are dropped and democratic checks and balances are discarded to ease the path for who really runs the country - Tesco, Google (a newcomer), and the nuclear industry.

With so many teenagers pouring out their most intimates on the web, into MySpace and Facebook, some press pundits are wondering if these careless candid thoughts will one day come back to haunt them when they're running for political office. These pundits have got it wrong. It's not their adolescent indiscretions, but the things they said last week that we should take notice off. Especially when they start acting like teenagers. As our "future Prime Minister" just has.

Empowering comments welcome. ®

Related link

Miliband goes mad

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Munich considers dumping Linux for ... GULP ... Windows!
Give a penguinista a hug, the Outlook's not good for open source's poster child
Yes, but what are your plans if a DRAGON attacks?
Local UK gov outs most ridiculous FoI requests...
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Govt control? Hah! It's IMPOSSIBLE to have a successful command economy
Even Moore's Law can't help the architects of statism now
Detroit losing MILLIONS because it buys CHEAP BATTERIES – report
Man at hardware store was right: name brands DO last longer
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
This'll end well: US govt says car-to-car jibber-jabber will SAVE lives
Department of Transportation starts cogs turning for another wireless comms standard
New voting rules leave innocent Brits at risk of SPAM TSUNAMI
Read the paperwork very carefully - or fall victim to marketing shysters
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.