Dave Winer, 56, is a software developer and editor of the Scripting News weblog. He pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School and NYU, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in New York City.
"The protoblogger." - NY Times.
"The father of modern-day content distribution." - PC World.
"Dave was in a hurry. He had big ideas." -- Harvard.
"Dave Winer is one of the most important figures in the evolution of online media." -- Nieman Journalism Lab.
10 inventors of Internet technologies you may not have heard of. -- Royal Pingdom.
One of BusinessWeek's 25 Most Influential People on the Web.
"Helped popularize blogging, podcasting and RSS." - Time.
"The father of blogging and RSS." - BBC.
"RSS was born in 1997 out of the confluence of Dave Winer's 'Really Simple Syndication' technology, used to push out blog updates, and Netscape's 'Rich Site Summary', which allowed users to create custom Netscape home pages with regularly updated data flows." - Tim O'Reilly.
8/2/11: Who I Am.
scriptingnews2mail at gmail dot com.
My 40 most-recent links, ranked by number of clicks.
FYI: You're soaking in it. :-)
Yes, I've started writing about politics again, and the cynics are weighing in also, as usual. Don't you know it's all theater, and there's no difference between the candidates. The world is run by a few rich people, and they don't care what we think.
I've never really addressed this, and thought now was a good time to do so.
My answer is this -- bullshit. That's not the way it works. You wish it worked that well, but it's actually chaotic, nonsenical, Dilbertesque, crazy, dysfunctional, self-destructive, suicidal, nutso, etc. Can you think of any more adjectives for we, as a species, net-net, have lost our minds? Go ahead and add them.
The problem is evolution. Up until a few generations ago, there was no possibility of a global consciousness, and luckily for us, no need for one. Humans simply weren't powerful enough to matter. So what if we were run by crazy kings and popes and political bosses, worst that could happen is we could spoil a small piece of land and kill ourselves, and we surely did a lot of that! But now the stakes are much higher. We've cured disease enough to fuel a population explosion. And while we seem to be able to feed ourselves, the planet just can't support that many people in many other ways. The problem is that we don't have a collective consciousness that can change things so they work. We're still arguing about the crazy stuff we used to argue about before we became the problem for the planet. You could even see that wise-ass Mitt Romney joking about it in his speech. He says Fuck you if you think the President's job is to worry about the level of the oceans. Well it's not just his job, it's all our jobs. Every damned one of us. And thanks so much for setting us back, just a bit, Mr Republican Presidential Candidate for 2012, a title which already holds some sway. God help us if this bozo gets more responsibility.
If the world were ruled by a secret cabal of rich people and their muses, I would know about it, because I know some of the people who would either be in Category 1 or Category 2. Sure they fly around and go to important conferences and they're quoted and talked about in the Economist and the Times, but they don't really run things. They fly around a lot. Look busy. They play a Captain of the Universe on TV, but they're just people and they don't have any idea about what to do. They work at making more money, and that's fine, but it doesn't really accomplish much, one way or the other.
The people we talk to with our vote is ourselves.
A vote for Mitt Romney communicates this: I'm exhausted trying to keep up with everything. I want it all to be simple. Like when I was a kid and my father made all the decisions.
And a vote for Barack Obama means the same damned thing.
That's where the cynicism is correct. But where it's not correct is in the assumption that that's all it can mean. And in that they suffer from a lack of imagination.
Even with a ridiculous choice, just a larger-than-normal number of people voting would make a difference. And then you have to judge for yourself how possible it is for us to change one of these guys to doing more of our work. For that, you have to understand that they are people too. When Obama makes a decision in term 2 he may be thinking about how the election went and what he feels he has the mandate to do. That might change things. Listen to the guy and judge for yourself.
If we, collectively, as if it were a Kickstarter project, decided to fund our election, and, as a political demonstration we all voted, that would be felt. Not by some mythical powers-that-be, but by us, by you and me and everyone else. It would be shocking. And if you're cynical you will be surprised by how much things will change in government.
Everything that happens now is premised on the fact that you're dumb and you don't vote. If you change one of those perceptions and you have the power to do that, the other one will change too. Think about it.
Voting does make a difference. The more people do it, the more power we will have as we go forward.
The most effective voter suppression is the lie that your vote doesn't matter. Don't give in to cynicism.
BTW, today's random header graphic influenced this piece.
What's new: The World news tab.
I started with the international feeds from major news outlets such as the ABC from Australia, Ria Novosti from Russia, Al Jazeera, Ha'aretz, The Hindu, NYT international feed, etc.
Then I asked people who read the site for other feeds. English-language. Covers news for their geography, as well as world news, but not be too focused on the United States. We already have lots of American news in other tabs. It was a community project which was wonderful, that's why we have such a rich set of feeds, and such an interesting tab.
Lots of other stuff in the pipe, as well as a tab for the US election, as it heats up.
Keep the cards and letters coming and keep spreading the word. Especially people who work at news organizations and bloggers. I want them all to do rivers for their communities. They don't have to be as fancy as this one. And we can help. It's important to have these streams running all over the web, not just on Twitter and Facebook.