Not-So-Smart Mobs


Were more people willing to let Howard Dean be their Friendster than their friend? Clay Shirky dissects the first social-software powered campaign.

The broader point implicit here, I think, is that maybe organic social networks aren't such an ideal political tool after all. Candidates need a well oiled machine—a gun they can point, aim, and fire. What they need, in other words, is a means to a straightforward end, when communities tend to become ends in themselves, difficult to subject to subject to top-down control.