Technology billionaire Sean Parker, famous for Napster, Facebook and Spotify, has a vision for a new app to “fix democracy” and increase “mass civic participation” in the political process.
It would be more reassuring if they said they wanted to “fix the Republic” but the app has potential just the same.
The biggest problem is people really don’t want other peoples’ political opinions. Another problem is that social media is a sewer.
The app-in-the-making is called Brigade. Parker told Ferenstein Wire at Fast Company that the goal of fixing democracy “is a little bit more achievable than it may seem at first blush, because turnout is so low, the average American is so disengaged, that even a few marginal changes — a few percentage points one way or the other — has a huge impact.”
They will start out with a small discussion tool that allows users to share and debate their political beliefs. Eventually it will lead to “grassroots actions”.
It sounds like something Republicans and Libertarians need to get in on or users will end up parroting one stream of thought.
It’s built on the idea that we have a “compulsive need to share our political opinions.”
The app runs a simple newsfeed with political statements to which users can mark agree, disagree, or unsure and then people will receive feedback.
It’s already been tested under the name “Accord” and is being used by thousands of Twitter users.
Here’s an example.
Since social media is to some degree a feeding ground for some angry, opinionated and disaffected people, this could easily become a battering ram to foist opinions on dissenters or it could encourage positive civic engagement.
Many Americans have given up on the political system and the more who give up, the more the system comes in and takes their place in making decisions that affect all our lives. Getting people involved is a good thing.
Parker said that life has become more complex and the tools to better inform the public need to be more complex.
The plan is to build a massive database of beliefs which they can then tie to voting habits. The whole database concept makes me uneasy. We can jump in if we like the idea. Going off the grid doesn’t sound too bad either.
What do you think?