3 Questions for Howard Rheingold

In your recent keynote address to the OhmyNews Forum, you comment on the impact of smart mob demonstrations in Korea, the Philippines, and Madrid. Yet, in the U.S. where we have maximum freedom to demonstrate and more citizen databases than we had when you wrote “Who Owns Who in D.C,” we have fewer demonstrations than we had 40 years ago — before we had either cell phones or databases. Why do you think that our greater transparency into politics and all of our smart mobbing technology aren’t converging to inspire more protests or, at least, more organized public confrontations with politicians?

In your OhmyNews address, you raise a warning about smart mobs being not-so-smart, and call for citizen journalism to do a better a job of fact checking and rumor squashing. While the self-vetting process that has evolved at Wikipedia seems to be very effective, Wikipedia doesn’t have the deadline pressure of OhmyNews. Do you see any citizen journalism models that are enforcing a professional-journalism level of factual accuracy?

One way to stimulate more social production of information would be to provide economic incentives for contributors, i.e., freeing them up a bit from their day jobs. Do you see any of the new currency systems you discuss in “The Internet and the Future of Money” as having the potential to meaningfully compensate contributors to social production projects?


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