“Command and control… [is] a disaster in the peer-to-peer social network world.”

There are some good points made, about the internet and other things, by US political strategist, Joe Trippi, as reported in this Guardian Technology article. So good that the Guardian TechBlog also noted it. Unlike Zoe Williams he’s an enthusiast of the emerging online social networks and, as his experience in promoting Howard Dean in the US showed, he knows whereof he speaks.From Tania Branigan’s article

But Mr Trippi believes the influence of the established media is waning and argues that politicians must allow activists to build their own online communities, not simply use the net to disseminate information.

He argues that, in an age of declining deference and empowered individuals, most voters will trust the opinion of peers who endorse a politician much more than a “top-down” message.

Rather than encouraging politicians to say one thing in public and another in private, this shift makes it pointless for them to try.

Platitudes will simply bore people, but the public will learn to filter out trivial gaffes: voters are unlikely to tolerate evidence of racism, but may learn to accept that senators occasionally drop off in hearings, for example.

But the switch will be particularly hard for incumbents, he suggested, who have to abandon the tactics which have made them successful.

“Parties that have had iron-clad message discipline – in the US, the Republican party and in the UK, Labour – have a tougher time,” he warned.

“Command and control … [is] a disaster in the peer-to-peer social network world.”