Democracy, Bubbles and the Real time Internet

I have a friend in the news business who had the pleasure (is that the right word?) of covering the whole Debt Ceiling Crisis from Washington over the past week.  Instead of broadcasting from a studio in NY like he normally does, he was on the scene at the Capitol for three days straight, and when he got back, I asked him, “So how was it?”

One of the coolest parts was, he said, the grandiose stage.  But it wasn’t just that.  What you see and feel when you’re standing inside the Capitol building is impressive.  Being there is inspiring; because it’s not something you see or feel every day.  Except, of course if you work there every day.  And that, as my friend and I discussed, is the problem.

Those who work inside that dome live inside a bubble — and they are changed by it.  Everything that goes on — from the coverage to the catering (no, not food) to the cameras that are regularly beckoning them – builds importance in the tasks at hand, and it builds their own perception of their role in it.  I put a link on the word, “grandiose” for a reason. Go back and click on it.  You’ll find a lot of synonyms, but not the word, “productive.”

My friend and I talked about several other culture where we see this bubble dynamic.  Wall Street.  Athletes.  Celebrities.  It’s interesting how sub-cultures create this.  They talk amongst themselves; they live differently; they grow insular.  But they’re not the only ones.

Today I moderated a roundtable discussion about the real-time Internet. It was a dozen entrepreneurs talking about how data, access to it, and the tools being created to corral it are creating better, faster businesses and a different Internet experience for everyone.  These guys ARE productive.  Their stage is not nearly as grandiose, but it is intertwined with how everyone gets their information today and, more importantly, tomorrow.  (More on that in a future post).

Very early in the conversation, Irving Fain brought up The Filter Bubble, a concept/book/TED presentation by Eli Pariser.   The video is below.  It’s compelling and brief.

Take a look.  And you’ll begin to look at the Web differently.  And you might ask, “What bubble are you from?”

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