According to Cass R Sunstein (thanks for the correct ‘exile’)one of the problems with internet politics is that it tends to atomise and draw people into informal social networks which then adopt much less moderate politics than they would if they were more directly engaged by mainstream democratic politics… Laurie Penny in the Samoza examines (amongst things) the importance of moderation in keeping a civil peace between those who profoundly disagree on their core political values:
It is a truth universally acknowledged by anyone who has spent time moderating blog comments that as well as being a brilliant place to share ideas and force the pace of social change, the blogosphere has a tendency to lure idiots, bigots and bullies from their hiding places.
Villages, global or otherwise, are tough places:
A measure of sectarianism is in the nature of the Internet. When the theorist Marshall McLuhan coined the term ‘Global Village’ to describe the coming communications revolution in the 1960s, he did not envision an international cyber-community characterised by bucolic tranquility. Anyone remotely charmed by the notion of a Global Village has probably not spent a great deal of time in villages, which, global or otherwise, involve a whole lot of gossip, backstabbing, isolationism and petty vendettas for every bastion of smalltown solidarity.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty