Monday, April 24, 2006

Individuality is fine, as long as we are all doing it together

Found this article in The Economist on blogs, and particularly loved this passage:
But in January this year "“the conversation"” arrived in Germany with a vengeance. Jung von Matt, a German advertising firm, had come up with a campaign in the (old) media called "“Du bist Deutschland"” ("“you are Germany"”). The advertisements were intended "“to fight grumpiness"” about the country's sluggish economy, said Jean-Remy von Matt, the firm's Belgian boss.

But German bloggers found the idea kitschy, and subsequently dug up an obscure photograph from a Nazi convention in 1935 that showed Hitler's face next to the awkwardly similar slogan "“Denn Du bist Deutschland"” ("“because you are Germany"”). In the ensuing online conversation, Mr von Matt's campaign was ignominiously deflated. Outraged, he sent an internal e-mail to his colleagues in which he called blogs "“the toilet walls of the internet"” and wanted to know: "“What on earth gives every computer-owner the right to express his opinion, unasked for?" ” When bloggers got hold of this e-mail, they answered his question with such clarity that Mr von Matt quickly and publicly apologised and retreated.

Inadvertently, Mr von Matt had put his finger on something big: that, at least in democratic societies, everybody does have the right to hold opinions, and that the urge to connect and converse with others is so basic that it might as well be added to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Yep. Web 1.0 was about getting everyone to the party. Web 2.0 is about us deciding what games we want to play now that we are all here ;)

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