Pay attention to what
The commercial Internet is approaching 20 years of age. From an availability standpoint, it's a mature medium – there are few places in the world you can't access the Internet, and in the developed world, it is readily available to a large percentage of the population either in their homes, at work or in libraries or other places of public accommodation.
From a standpoint of what we're going to do with it, we're not even close.
Shirky points out that the printing press was invented in 1454; we know of erotic novels dating to 1499 but not scientific journals until the 1660s. So, LOLcats might be everywhere on the Internet in various forms right now, but give it time.
Mitch Joel recently
Here in the U.S., we're in presidential election season. One of the toughest things for me in this season is our de facto two-party system. Anybody meeting a short list of qualifications (35 years old, natural born U.S. citizen) is allowed to run for president, but it's always a two-person race.
This means that typically, we're voting for the person whose policies we dislike least (or, in very bad years, the person we dislike least).
The continuing maturity of the Internet has opened up a more transparent government. We know more about who has done and said what, what our laws are, what legislation is coming up for votes and who is throwing stupid amendments on what.
What the Internet hasn't yet done for us is create a more participatory government. Participation starts and ends with voting for the average citizen. While the occasional letter to a legislator may or may not change someone's mind on an issue, but it doesn't directly contribute to government. Shirky explains how people are using
Pretty interesting stuff.