Nancy Scola gives the good news and bad news about participatory democracy

A good thought provoker I’d thought I’d pass along: Personal Democracy Forum: “Talk Notes: The Invention That Is American Democracy”:

I’d argue that much of what has passed for participatory democracy in these early stages of its reinvention has been obsessed with re-engineering a system — while largely ignoring the role of real-live flesh and blood people in that system. Tools like Twitter, and Facebook, and mobile, and the good old World Wide Web are potentially incredibly powerful. But they are the how of participatory democracy; they’re not the what. The hopeful side is that the what consists of exactly what I’ve talked about social media being very good at – sharing ideas and shaping our engagements with other people. Once we figure out how to apply the same new power we have over our personal lives to our political lives, that’s when I suspect we might see democracy’s real re-invention.

I think there is a challenge there to take up and that she succinctly outlines it for everyone.