For about 25 hours, Democrats from the US House of Representatives staged a sit-in. The reason for their sit-in is important, but the bigger demonstration may have been the use of technology and social media to amplify a message that would’ve been silenced without their use. When the Republicans turned off the cameras, the Democrats quickly learned to update their technology.
“It’s funny. I’ve been looking at how dissident groups have been using social media for years. Underdeveloped nations who don’t have the freedom of speech and access we do in the US, this is what they have to resort to. Then I find myself sitting on the floor of Congress of the United States having to rely on these same technologies. I just had a surreal moment.” – Representative Duckworth
Years ago, the Democrats turned off the lights and the cameras when the Republicans did something similar; but the technologies weren’t in place for a similar response. This time, millions of people were able to watch and interact with the members of the sit-in. Decentralized power is now being recognized as powerful even by the powerful who previously didn’t need it. Information is becoming freer, and anyone with the technology has the potential to reach as great an audience. Democracy is being enabled and amplified.
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