Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Twitterature - Twitter as the new literature

We are now living in a fast-paced world. And the fast-paced world needs a fast-paced means of communication, expression and information dissemination. Twitter is one of the promising sites that could cater to that requirement. Although more of a personal ad space more than anything, Twitter has the potential of becoming the ultimate news aggregation or literary internet site-- feeding bite-sized tidbits of info to an audience with an ever shortening attention span.

That's why the buzzword right now is 'concise'. To be a succesful internet entity, one must have the skill to express what he wants to express in the fewest words possible.

Lately, I've been reading Ramon Bautista's twitter and I'm always amazed by how much ideas he can express in such a short message. Here are some of his best tweets of wisdom (Tweesdom?) for August in my opinion.

On Psychology
Just had flu shots. I feel invincible!
17 Aug
Nababawasan ang driving skills mo pag di mo dala lisensya mo
15 Aug
(ed. - A placebo is a sham or simulated medical intervention. Sometimes patients given a placebo treatment will have a perceived or actual improvement in a medical condition, a phenomenon commonly called the placebo effect. Here, Ramon Bautista gave good examples of the placebo effect aplied to other fields.)
wag na nga, di na kita gagamitan ng reverse psychology...
1 Aug

On Love and Relationships
Ilang km ang minimum na layo para magqualify na long distance relationship?
12 Aug
Hanggang ilan ba ang "the one that got away"?
2 Aug
(ed. - These are rhetorical but valid questions. They will make you laugh then think.)

On Death and the Internet

Pag bigla kang na deadz, yung huling ni-tweet mo, iinterpret ng lahat na goodbye message mo sa mundo. Make it good!
14 Aug
(ed. - A very sound observation. This is related to a previous post here i.e. What happens when an internet poster dies?)
masarap manood ng youtube, magtweet saka shempre mag facebook pag kailangan mo na umalis ng bahay
19 Aug
Wagas na pag ibig, hindi nahahadlangan ng pagwakas ng unli
31 Jul

On Innovation and Technology

Pag nag red yung traffic light, sana may nago-on din na free wi-fi. Sabay off na pag green
22 Aug
(ed. - With quite a lot of time wasted on traffic stops, this might jst be a very good suggestion.)
Lasang sabon itong tubig ko. Bakit di sila gumawa ng ice tea flavor na dishwashing soap?
3 Aug
(ed. - An edible soap is not a bad idea.)

On Freedom of Expression

fan ako ng freedom of expression pero mas fan ako ng pagrespeto sa kung anumang sagrado para sa iba
16 Aug

On Girls

Mag ingat sa maganda: magaling sila manghuli ng nagnanakaw ng titig
5 Aug
favorite hobby ng mga chicks mag " typing a message" sabay offline
4 Aug


My favorite cooking utensil is the can opener
26 Aug

That last post reminded me of a short story written by Ernest Hemingway where he was able to tell a complete story that evoked a lot of emotions and images in just a few words. I think these kinds of stories are called Flash Fiction.

"For Sale: Baby shoes, never worn"

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Crowdsourcing a Country

We're now witnessing another phase in the evolution of online social media.

In recent news, Iceland has drafted their constitution through Facebook. This could set the template for other governments: a "crowdsourced" constitution.

A draft of the constitution was presented to Iceland’s parliament. The draft was then compiled and uploaded online. The constitution council then let citizens comment via a Facebook Page.

This is a significant step in the structure of government in the modern era. I'm sure this is just the beginning. Crowdsourcing other government functions could be the next to follow. A government could, for example, let the online citizenry directly participate in the passing of a bill, instead of just the congress. Even court proceedings, where a jury decides the verdict, can be posted online where the netizens can have a say.

Of course this would entail detailed consideration on various aspects. One must consider safeguarding against mob rule, online bullying, fraudulent users etc.

This is the exact concept I was doing for a futuristic short story a few months ago. In my story, the Philippines has been implementing a crowdsourced government which is anchored in cloud computing. Thus there is no real center of government. I called this type of government 'Nimbocracy' ('Nimbus' = Latin for cloud, 'Kratos' = Greek for power).

In this form of government, there is a person who has the role of a frontispiece (the "king"). However, it is really the SysAdmins who rule the country since they are the ones who moderate the forum for the citizens. The Supreme SysAdmin takes the role akin to the Prime Minister. Every department is then moderated by a sysadmin-- there is a SysAdmin for Justice, a SysAdmin for Education, a SysAdmin for Health etc.

[You may also want to check out the short story written by Cory Doctorow entitled "When SysAdmins Rule the World" for a similar concept.]

The essence of this government is that every netizen has direct, albeit online, participation as to how the government is run-- a perfected form of democracy. Isn't it exactly the goal of Democracy? A government of the people, for the people and by the people. Makes perfect sense. The only difference is the means of implementing that power.

I'm pretty sure this will be completed in my lifetime-- the short story that is. But the actual implementation of 'Nimbocracy' in real life may take a very long time. There are many factors to consider-- an efficient internet connection, a near 100% online literacy, a vigilant online security group among others.

What the Iceland government did is a giant step for mankind (well at least to the online world). We'll just have to wait and see what happens next.


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