#SocialMediaVotingAdvice achieves extraordinary power when those with a big platform are curating advice from their followers and distributing it to others.
This is a copy of a note I sent to Rob Krall, who promotes “bottom up” innovations—solutions that come from the people affected by them, rather than from the top down. What he’s doing is great, and #SocialMediaVotingAdvice is an idea that fits his way of thinking!
How It Works
These days, everyone knows what Twitter is. You follow people you like, and you get their tweets. You don’t get tweets from people you haven’t followed.
Let’s modify that system so we can use it to give and get voting advice. To do that, we will make two changes:
- We won’t get replies that others send to an advice-tweet.
- We will automatically filter out any advice, if we’re not voting on it.
The technology needed to create that system is fairly rudimentary. It can be put together in 6 to 8 months. But the benefits are enormous.
What It Achieves
The system achieves several important goals:
- Targeted Advice
- Curated Advice
- Defanged Lobbyists
- Zero-Advertising Elections
- Easier Voting
- High Voter Turnout
- Government by the People
Greenpeace can recommend a mayor in your town. They can recommend a mayor in the next town, too, but you won’t see that. In other words, they can tweet to their 5 million members without a single ounce of spam.
Similarly for famous people, political analysts, and watchdog organizations. they can make any and all recommendations they want, without spamming anyone.
The system really takes on its power when people with a big platform begin to pass on advice from people they trust. Maybe they know someone from way back. Maybe someone suggests a mayor in the next town over, and after looking into it, the suggested candidate looks good.
However the trust is established, the person with the platform is now forwarding curated recommendations from others—not just on big issues and national elections, but on all manner of state and local elections.
So John Q. Public knows someone in Little Town U.S.A. who would be a great mayor. Suzy Q. Famous does not know them, but trusts John. She passes on the recommendation. The result? Maybe 10 people in Little Town follow John. But 10,000 follow Suzy. And guess who those 10,000 are now voting for.
Arguably, lobbyists are sucking the life blood out of our political system. They are certainly draining the money from the economy and starving the government of tax revenue.
The power that lobbyists wield depends on campaign contributions. And those contributions are needed mostly to buy advertising.
Without advertising, candidates get no media attention, so today, advertising is critical for any successful campaign. For that reason, contributors make donations to both sides in an election. No matter who wins on paper, it is the contributors who pull the strings after the election.
With #SocialMediaVotingAdvice, it becomes entirely possible to win an election without spending any money on advertising. It will take a high percentage of users, of course. But there are good reasons to expect that the required percentage can be rapidly achieved.
While the technical hurdles are small, the social hurdles are immense. Thought leaders and public figures need to be using the system and recommending it to their followers. When they do, people will be drawn to it. So outreach is as important as technical development.
Once there, users will find all the advice they need to vote intelligently on every single issue and race for office, all in one place.
Basically, they will log in, get a list of things they want to vote on, and get recommendations from people the trust. In minutes, they print out a checklist, or take it with them to the polls in a phone app.
Granted, it will take a year or two for that goal to be achieved. But there is no doubt that eventually it will be achieved.
All of which leads to yet another benefit…
High Voter Turnout
Instead of sitting out small elections because they don’t know how to vote, people will go to the polls. Why? Because it doesn’t take much time and effort, because they have advice they trust, and because, by doing so, they are in effect helping their advisors create the kind of society they and their followers want.
Government by the People
When a corporation wants to do some advertising, they create a great sounding organization like “Citizens for Peace and Justice”. Then they create an “independent” lab that feeds the media all kinds of nonsense masquerading as reliable data.
But as advertising becomes less important, those independent labs become less influential. And that new organization? It will have an insignificant number of followers.
An organization that has been around for decades (or even years), meanwhile, will have amassed a large number of followers.
When you happen to stumble across one of them giving an interview, you can follow them, and you get whatever advice they give from then on. So that organization you liked a decade ago is still giving you advice today. You don’t even have to go look for it—assuming you even remember what they were called.
The result? Those great sounding organizations created by corporations will have a vanishingly small impact, while organizations that serve actual people have an impact that grows significantly larger over time.
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