Revolution or Convolution?

The most enlightening point of yesterday's Our Social Worldwas undoubtedly when Ben Hammersleyaccused Johnnie Moore of ...

September 10, 2005

The most enlightening point of yesterday’s Our Social World
was undoubtedly when Ben Hammersley
accused Johnnie Moore of being a psychopath. Simon Phipps from Sun weighed in, accusing him of creating an anti-social world.

The whole encounter smacked of playground bullying.

Johnnie’s sin, apparently, is to get together with a group of other Sainsbury’s customers and start blogging about them in a spirit of ‘Wouldn’t it be good if Sainsbury’s…’.

Instead of trying to engage the organisation through traditional channels, Johnnie & co thought it might be more fun just to start talking amongst one another and see what happens.

Tense discussion ensued about what ‘THEY’ (Sainsbury’s senior management, I assume?) thought about this, and whether the playful bloggers had received a ‘cease and desist’-style notice.

The assumption of the assembled crew (or at theast the vocal minority) seemed to be that it was somehow morally wrong to talk about corporations and their business strategies and brands, and that their PR people would be down on you like a ton of bricks seeking to control or cut off the conversation. As if analysts and media don’t do this every day – for profit!

Firstly, I’m sure Sainsbury’s PR team are delighted that their brand is held in sufficient esteem and affection to warrant this level of engagement.

Secondly, I was appalled that the ‘open source’, liberal-minded, socially-constructive community thinks we should be applying some form of self-censorship in relation to our conversations.

There is a clear and present danger that the blogging medium may not prove to be an instrument of liberation at all, but will instead entrench the perspective of an already established and self-perpetuating ‘liberal’ elite. If this BBC-esque word-view (freedom of speech on my terms, on my topics!) is only tone of the blogging community, the power of the medium will not turn the world one millisecond on its axis. This is cultural fascism. Come on boys. Live and let live.

I fear the ‘orrible truth. Blogging and even wiki’s (the medium of choice for the intellectual bully) are not the participatory revolution that Ben proposes, but a mere convolution of the status quo. Cast your mind back to seeding and nurturing of the Russian Revolution. It was ever thus.

This is all a very convoluted way of saying, GO GO JOHNNIE. We, the people own the Sainsbury;’s brand. Its shareholders merely own the buildings. It is our perfect right to share and shape that meaning.

As Paul Smith says, you can find find inspiration in anything. Make your own rules. Or better still, destroy someone else’s. It’s only meta-data, after all.

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