I haven’t made the time to directly check votizen.com out, myself, too much. I started to join, but their system insisted on one of my twitter, facebook, or linkedin accounts, and I didn’t want to use any pre-existing ones. I’ll definitely join, later, but the potential of votizen to seriously shake things up seems too important not to be examined, by the FDL community, ASAP.
I had one main question, which I couldn’t get a solid clue to, before a little more googling, today. And that question is, DOES THIS TECHNOLOGY RESPECT 3RD PARTIES? People familiar with my writings know that I favor building up 3rd parties, but also reforming the Democratic and Republican parties. (For examples of my writings on voting strategies, see Recommended Short and Long Term Voting Strategies for the Dump Obama Movement and “Dump Corporate Dems” – Going Green at the State Level, to “make Dems do it” at the Federal level)
My biggest fear with votizen is that, while it may help break the stranglehold of corporate cash corrupting the legacy, D and R parties, it would hamstring the citizenry by not facilitating the wishes of citizens who want to vote for a 3rd party – either dumping the legacy parties, completely; or else, as I have recommended, being strategic about things, loyal to principles, but not loyal (or terminally averse to) any party. Yes, even those dastardly Democratic and Republican parties.
From this page, it appears that they do, indeed, facilitate at least some 3rd parties – in particular, the Green Party, the Constitution Party, and the Libertarian party.
THESE PEOPLE HAVE GOT FACEBOOK PRINCIPALS AS INVESTORS, AND WILL HAVE NO CASH PROBLEMS DEVELOPING THEIR OFFERINGS. IF THIS TECHNOLOGY IS AS DISRUPTIVE AS I BELIEVE IT MAY BE, THEN YOU OWE IT TO YOURSELF TO GET INVOLVED. THIS IS PARTLY BECAUSE IT COULD BE USED TO DISRUPT BUSINESS-AS-USUAL FOR THE 2012 ELECTIONS.
OTOH, IF IT TURNS OUT THAT 3RD PARTIES ARE MARGINALIZED, A MORE APPROPRIATE RESPONSE MIGHT BE TO A) BOYCOTT VOTIZEN, UNTIL THIS IS RECTIFIED AND B) USE SOCIAL NETWORKS TO MAKE SURE THAT YOUR 3RD PARTY FAVORING SOCIAL NETWORK ALSO BOYCOTTS VOTIZEN.
Votizen may be well be revolutionary, even though it (apparently) will operate at a primitize level of ‘voting bloc mojo’. I don’t want to get into a big discussion – you can google me re “voting blocs” for my previous comments. But, briefly:
A full voting bloc decides it’s own destiny, from the bottom up, both in terms of policies, candidates, and strategies. That is what reinventingdemocracy.us can offer, if it gets funded. A proto-voting bloc will have it’s (more limited) options laid out in a top down fashion, with some voting to decide on the group will. A proto-proto-voting bloc will only self-organize, in a granular fashion, around candidates, hopefully, eventually, reform candidates. It’s members’ “votes” (aside from their real-world votes, on election and primary day) are basically their membership in the an online group, akin to a fan group. It’s disruptive potential comes from it’s ability to grow cheaply and rapidly, and to be inherently non-preferential wrt incumbents.
In this hierarchy, votizen is at the lowest level, though it also goes beyond this by allowing recruitment of volunteers from the ‘proto-proto-voting bloc’. It allows the formation of voting blocs with party and candidate boundaries. A mature voting bloc technology will make parties essentially almost irrelevant – the relevant boundaries are policy boundaries (and, implicitly, ideological boundaries).
For those of you that moan and groan about how bad everything is: You’re partly right, but you’re shooting yourself in the foot if you allow your negativity to blind you to what bright spots are out there. I haven’t come to a final determination of the potential of votizen, but don’t let that, or your own negativity, prevent you from coming to your own fair and open-minded conclusion.