An Internet Manifesto written by German bloggers? No, I'm not referring to The Cluetrain Manifesto, which began as a website about the 'new reality' of the networked marketplace, written a decade ago. I'm talking about a new Internet Manifesto, written by, well, us -- as in, all of us.
It all started when I came across a random link, originally posted on Twitter by @Davos, the Official Twitter account of the World Economic Forum. The post led me down the rabbit hole to a new Internet Manifesto on 'how journalism works today.' As a journalist, I was curious to say the least. The post even had a comment by
What is a manifesto anyway? According to Wikipedia, "A manifesto is a public declaration of principles and intentions, often political in nature." Just above the Wikipedia page, a note that puts the declarations below and the intention of this post into perspective: "The examples in this article may not represent a worldwide view of the subject. Please improve this article and discuss the issue."
1. The Internet is different.
It produces different public spheres, different terms of trade and different cultural skills. The media must adapt their work methods to today's technological reality instead of ignoring or challenging it. It is their duty to develop the best possible form of journalism based on the available technology. This includes new journalistic products and methods.
2. The Internet is a pocket-sized media empire.
The web rearranges existing media structures by transcending their former boundaries and oligopolies. The publication and dissemination of media contents are no longer tied to heavy investments. Journalism's self-conception is--fortunately--being cured of its gatekeeping function. All that remains is the journalistic quality through which journalism distinguishes itself from mere publication.
3. The Internet is our society is the Internet.
Web-based platforms like social networks, Wikipedia or YouTube have become a part of everyday life for the majority of people in the western world. They are as accessible as the telephone or television. If media companies want to continue to exist, they must understand the lifeworld of today's users and embrace their forms of communication. This includes basic forms of social communication: listening and responding, also known as dialog.
4. The freedom of the Internet is inviolable.
The Internet's open architecture constitutes the basic IT law of a society which communicates digitally and, consequently, of journalism. It may not be modified for the sake of protecting the special commercial or political interests often hidden behind the pretense of public interest. Regardless of how it is done, blocking access to the Internet endangers the free flow of information and corrupts our fundamental right to a self-determined level of information.
5. The Internet is the victory of information.
Due to inadequate technology, media companies, research centers, public institutions and other organizations compiled and classified the world's information up to now. Today every citizen can set up her own personal news filter while search engines tap into wealths of information of a magnitude never before known. Individuals can now inform themselves better than ever.
The Internet Manifesto in its current form has 17 declarations. I've posted the top five above and the following five here in English for review. What if we used the points as an outline? How might you envision and add to a World Internet Manifesto?
Juliette Powell is an author, entrepreneur and integrated media specialist. Her first book 33 Million People in the Room (Financial Times Press, 2009) builds on her work as co-founder and COO of the Gathering Think Tank Inc., an innovation forum at the intersection of integrated media, business, innovation and technology. A popular key note speaker and commentator, connect with Juliette directly at juliettepowell.com and Facebook.
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