Technology has given each of us the opportunity to share our thoughts and feelings with a potential audience of millions, without the inconvenience of having to convince publishers or editors of the worth of our words. Our wise and witty screeds may be ignored, but at least we are expressing ourselves. Isn’t getting into our own grove what it has all come down to online? Mid flickr and blog, I will vodcast my barbaric yawp across the YouTubes of the world.
Whether on blog or social networking page, by user-generated text or image, our view, our take, our opinion is what moves us. Text in. Tweet. Phone in. Email. What do you think? Tell us your story. It may be that you tried a new recipe for shepherd’s pie for dinner last night that involved actual shepherds, or that you recently escaped, under gunfire, from a violent corner of the Maghreb. No matter. Each tale is equal, each teller equally equipped with the means to tell it.
What a load of Simon Cowell. Being witness to a drama doesn’t necessarily mean that we possess an ability to stage it. We each have a story to tell, of course, but it doesn’t automatically follow that we have an ability to tell it. Don’t get stuck with my grandmother whatever you do.
The idea of collective creative parity online is a romantic one, which fools us into believing that we are being listened to, that we matter now more than we ever have before. But the world remains a place in which some have and some have not, some will and some won’t, some can and some can’t. It is not flat, whatever Thomas Friedman and other professional exaggerators would have us believe. We are babbling away like never before, but some voices are more equal than others. The authorities, social, political, economic and cultural, still exist, and these authorities are being influenced by the new priestly caste, the evangelists for the democratic possibilities of technology. Power isn't being challenged. It is simply learning to pretend that it is just like you.