Idealogues Tend to Agree on the impact of The Army of Davids – Part 2

Read Part 1 of my write-up on the debate I attended 3/6/06, entitled An Army of Davids or Triumph of Goliath?

Joe Trippi – like many people – likes the printing press metaphor when thinking about the power of the Internet. But he articulated the idea that the Internet isn’t just about distributing information, it is about distributing power through that information.

He posed an interesting question towards the goliaths of the world (i.e., big media, big government, big companies, and others)- “You are goliath, the Army of Davids are out there. Do you want to be Goliath or do you want to be the slingshot?”

Trippi pointed to Napster as an early example of this concept. He sees Apple doing the same today with iTunes and iPods. Apple is the slingshot. They are empowering people to consume content the way they choose (Glenn signed my book, ‘Keep that sling ready’, which is obviously a different idea).

I think one of Glenn’s earliest thoughts in the night was his best – humans are hardwired to share opinions, views, and observations. People blog or podcast because it is fun. Lots of people have had things to say but until now they just didn’t have a way to say it. At least not the way the Internet allows them to do so.

Glenn also spoke to these efforts in terms of their economic viability or perhaps, lack thereof. Due to the proliferation and simplicity of this software, there won’t be many who can blog or podcast full-time. Glenn mentioned the podcast he has with his wife – he makes no money on it and yet it is his favorite thing to do (he also wondered out loud about what a potential business model for podcasting might look like).

The important conclusion from that examination is that Glenn believes the blogosphere (or “podosphere” for that matter) will largely stay authentic. With little to no economic incentive, there will be few cases where bloggers have the ability to sell out to big corporate interests.

Much of what Joe and Glenn had to say resonated with me. But I think Barry had some good points too (see yesterday’s post for Barry’s side of the equation).

As I thought about the Army of Davids, I wondered if these were true armies or perhaps just elite officers within the ranks of Davids who are making the difference in tackling the goliaths of the world. For instance, Joe Blogger with 0 links to his site had little to do with the blog swarm over Rathergate. In other words, I wonder if in some ways, these armies become microcosms of the larger existing power structures.

Power has a funny way of naturally or sometimes forcefully being broke down – but it often seems to be put back together again, regardless of whether we look at business (think about the AT&T deal) or the rise and fall of great nations throughout the course of history.