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Geert Lovink on Tue, 8 Sep 2009 10:33:38 +0200 (CEST)

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by Marco Mancuso

from Digimag 47 - September 2009
English version online soon

Digimag interviewed Alessandro Gilioli, well known journalist, writer,
editor and blogger of "L'Espresso"(monthly magazine edited by the
same editorial group of "La Repubblica") and Derrick de Kerckhove.
On July 14th 2009 a virtual strike took place, a strike on the main
Italian blogs, organized by Alessandro Gilioli with the collaboration
of bloggers from all political areas. The initiative asked Italian
blogs to stop posting all the same hour, and to just post the logo
of the protest online, with a link to the statement for the Right
to Net: http://dirittoallarete.ning.com/. The Social Networking
platform worked as a collector of posts and free opinions, as well as
a container for the images of all the bloggers who gagged themselves
by taking part in the protest. The project also involved a sit-in
and meeting in Piazza Navona in Rome, at 7pm on Tuesday, the 14th of
July, and a symbolic gagging of the bloggers that were present as well
as the statue that represents the freedom of speech, the statue of
Pasquino. The reason of the protest was the Angelino Alfano (ITalian
Minister of Justice) decree on wiretapping, which has in fact "muted"
a whole series of bloggers on the Net, threatening them with legal
action and hefty fines. If the so-called obligation to rectify,
thought of 60 years ago for the Press, is imposed on all blogs (even
amateur ones) with the foreseen hefty pecuniary fines, it would
actually put a silencer on online conversations and freedom of speech.
A very strong action against freedom of press in Italy


I would say that it was almost inevitable. To live and work in a
country, as democratic as it seems, where the interdependent rapport
between politics and mass media is much tighter than in any other
country in the world (excluding those openly totalitarian regimes that
we mentioned for example in last month's Persepolis 2.0 article, of
course) and does not allow for libertarian utopias of any sort if they
discuss any subject that is a fundamental part of democracy, like the
freedom of the Press, the right to an opinion, the freedom of thought.

To think that the Internet, Blogs, P2P and Social Networks could be
exempt from censorship and restrictions from the government, to hope
that they would continue to be completely free territories forever,
was absolutely naive in my opinion: there are many negative accounts
of this, on a national and international level, some of which have
been discussed in Digimag during the past few years.

Regarding these themes, the Italian government seems to have already
triggered an unprecedented control and restriction policy in the
Western "democracies" and that, as the guests of this interview
Alessandro Gilioli and Derrick De Kerckhove emphasise, could bring
up a series of amendments and decrees that constitute as a dangerous
precedent to be imitated by other "democracies" all over the world. In
fact it seems that in Italy, the freedom of the Press as we know it,
is a right that exists merely on paper and much less in practice: how
to interpret the latest masked government action against the freedom
of thought and of the Press, the Alfano decree on wiretapping, which
has in fact "muted" a whole series of bloggers on the Net, threatening
them with legal action and hefty fines? If the so- called obligation
to rectify, thought of 60 years ago for the Press, is imposed on all
blogs (even amateur ones) with the foreseen hefty pecuniary fines, it
would actually put a silencer on online conversations and freedom of

In a government obsessed by controlling the mass media, intent on
putting a silencer on every possible voice of protest, fundamentally
ignorant to social and economical dynamics that make up the Internet,
P2P, Open Sourcing and Social Networking, it's almost inevitable to
be afraid of that which you cannot control, of the so-called "word
getting out" that could slip through the small mesh of an online
community, as small as it can be, that has the potential to grow and
could soon become politically important (if well-represented, of

Therefore in protest against the Alfano Decree, on the 14th of July a
virtual strike took place, a strike on the main Italian blogs. This
happened thanks to the initiative of Alessandro Gilioli (Journalist,
writer, Editor and blogger of "L'Espresso" with his "Piovono Rane"
feature), and the collaboration of bloggers from all political areas
(and non-political areas too) and representatives of various parties
and associations, the initiative asked Italian blogs to just post
the logo of the protest online, with a link to the statement for the
Right to Net: http:// dirittoallarete.ning.com/. The Social Networking
platform worked as a collector of posts and free opinions, as well as
a container for the images of all the bloggers who gagged themselves
by taking part in the protest. The project also involved a sit-in
and meeting in Piazza Navona in Rome, at 7pm on Tuesday, the 14th of
July, and a symbolic gagging of the bloggers that were present as well
as the statue that represents the freedom of speech, the statue of

The initiative inevitably caught my attention, be it for the objective
importance of the theme in question, the fact that Digimag naturally
tends to want to know about projects done by the vivacious voices
of its guests (that can be artistic and of protest), be it for the
opportunity to be able to confront myself with a free-thinker whose
activity and presence on the Net, in my opinion, are very important
for our country, for the distribution of a "new" form of hybrid
journalism between the traditional form, connected more closely to
Print and TV and to the dynamics of classic editorials, and what the
media have erroneously crowned as being "citizen journalism" (which
I prefer to call "free journalism"). Derrick de Kerckhove (whom I
thank dearly) also answered my questions, an essayist who needs no
introduction, an opinionist, Director of McLuhan Program in Culture &
Technology and Professor of the Department of French of the University
of Toronto, who in someway has been closely following the evolution of
Alessandro Gilioli's project.

Marco Mancuso: I would like to begin this interview by asking you to
give me an initial overview of the initiative of the "blog strike"
that took place on the 14th of July after the creation of the platform
The Right to Net. Personally I consider this initiative to be an
important step toward the use of the Net as a real platform for
discussion, thought, gathering: for example The Right to Net has
united many informative blogs and this is very useful for all those
people that wish to find their way through the (hopefully) free and
independent universe of information from the bottom, that was quickly
labelled Citizen Journalism by the media. At the same time I ask
myself, and ask you, aside from the act of protest and strike that
were absolutely legitimate and justified, what practical and concrete
effects has the initiative been having on a social and political
level, that I presume is still thriving, and what effects can it have
in the future? And more generally speaking, in what direction, in your
opinion, should work be done so that protest and gathering initiatives
on the Net can have a real and efficient fall back in the real world
of our lives?

Alessandro Gilioli: We'll see the "specific" results of the protest
later on: if and when the "blogkiller" enforcement will be thrown out
by Alfano, as we hope. It's being discussed, there's an amendment
that will probably be voted for: I am probably "rashly optimistic"
on the hypothesis that the specific objective will be reached. But
two results have already been obtained. First of all, the initiative
has brought the question of communication "from the bottom" in Italy
(and the ignorance of our politicians) outside the self-referential
circuit of blogs. Dozens of Italian and foreign newspapers (like
El Mundo) and TV stations (from Sky to the BBC) have talked about
it - so that they could dissent from it. A lot of politicians and
actors in politics asked themselves for the first time, "what are
these blogs and why are they so pissed off"?, which is something.
The second result was the fact of getting the blog sector to discuss
and think about its own role and (why not?) its responsibilities. In
particular the passage from a phase of simple "defensive rejection"
against stupid laws (D'Alia, Carlucci, ddl Alfano, etc.), to a phase
of "purposeful counterattack" to stimulate the legislators to produce
laws that keep in mind the different dynamics of online communication
from the bottom compared to the vertical journalism of Print, to be
inspired toward opening, innovation, sharing and neutrality of the
Net, instead of the "terrorised prohibition" with which they've made
their moves so far.

Derrick de Kerckhove: The extension of news from the official
press, the Twitter-like usage, the use of defensive technology, and
contributions of Italian intelligence. What fall back can be produced
by protest initiatives on the Net is an interesting question. It's
true that only now are social networks beginning to generate some
effect; citizen journalism through social networks involves increasing
amounts of people and not only on blogs but also other forms of
communication. It could have a very strong effect on the government,
despite its dependence on the number of people who are connected, and
the ratio between the number of people on the Internet and the actual
population. I think for example that Italy will find its point of
maturity on the Internet in the future just as America found its own
with the election of Obama, the highest moment of mass distribution of
the force of the Internet compared to that of classic media. It means
that strategies can be found to greatly augment the impact of social
networks, which have an influence on political power, a power that we
can call ecological. Politics should be ecological. Another aspect is
the impact that such a law has on people's lives, that represses the
freedom of expression. Let's hope that we will not see a competition
in Italy between the organisation of a Network that defends itself and
the organisation of a government that attacks it. The contributions
of Italian intelligence are clearly and heavily threatened if such
a situation arises, the emancipation of Italian minds must not be

Marco Mancuso: On the basis of the recent government anti-blog orders,
as for example the Alfano decree this past July, what are, in your
opinion, the actual and potential risks that the Internet faces,
concerning freedom of thought but also free circulation and sharing
of files, ideas and materials, movements of protest and gathering and
autonomous processes of creation of new professions and economies, of
the defence of one's own privacy and personal data? In other, words,
how long will the Net remain a free territory as we have known it in
the past 10 years and how dangerous could the illusion that it will
always be a marginal territory in contemporary society be?

Alessandro Gilioli: In Italy the danger of the Net comes from a
combination of intolerance, fear and ignorance of politicians,
especially those of the PDL and UDC parties. Intolerance: Berlusconi
can't stand hostile media in general, he tells people to not advertise
with them, he dreams of an Italy of Minzolini communicators. Fear:
politicians do not know the Net but can suss how little it can be
controlled compared to mainstream media, in other words that if a
piece comes out on the Net that embarrasses them they don't have a
editor they can call the next day to ask for "compensatory" articles,
they don't have a reporter from the Palazzo that they can walk arm-in-
arm with along the Montecitorio Transatlantic, they don't have any
kind of blackmail power that they have always had over editors.
Ignorance: most politicians don't know what horizontal communication
is, the insertion of content in blogs or social networks, and
mechanically tend to apply laws that were thought up 60 years ago for
Print. Faced with all this, the way in which the Italian Net will
live in the next few years depends mostly on us, that is to say,
those people who want it to be free and plural: how we will know how
to move and influence the Palazzo, giving up on isolated and snobby
positions and facing the reality out there. But also avoiding vanity
and personal ambitions, with every person working at the service of

Derrick de Kerckhove: The problem is in the fact that the Italian law
does not constitute as the exception but is the norm. Right now the
tendency toward the norm is visible, predictable in many details,
in China, France, Italy and in Iran. The next law will require the
creation of an internal department of defence (like the Basso fortress
in Florence, built by the Medici, non to defend the city but to
defend themselves from the city). The danger does not solely exist
for Italy; the danger is that every conservative government can
imitate the Italian example at any stage. At this time it's clear
how the governments are tempted, and one is going beyond temptation,
the Italian one, to control people in an absolute way. It's a new
and innovative way to control the population. It's also interesting
to see to what point the image of Italy, that is not seen under the
best light right now with Berlusconi's government, will continue to
get worse to the eyes of the whole world with this new law. This is
not a positive example for a country whose inspiration tends to reach
toward an openness that is very similar to the American standard. The
American way means an openness that is under surveillance, but with a
sense of free space, this sense can also be classified as ecological.
It gives the population the possibility to live with breathing space
and I think that in Italy, to have a reputation similar to that of
China on the Internet is not becoming. But the other aspect that
worries me is the tendency that the right wing governments have to
research a sort of absolute control over people, to be carried out in
many ways. If the Italian "experiment" (that I hope will never come to
be) becomes a model for other governments in the rest of the world, if
that should really happen, we will be lost.

Marco Mancuso: There's an interesting post on The Right to Net
concerning a comment of the lawyer Guido Scorza, an judicial IT
expert, who talks about the risks that channels like Youtube are
facing. In the light of the previous question don't you think that
it's increasingly necessary to create an open and possibly shared
discussion with those very people who can illustrate, clarify and
eventually legally help all those people who work, express themselves
and communicate on the Net and through Social Networks? Don't you
think that in this sense, a platform like The Right to Net should
discuss this deeply, clarify as much as possible and eventually help
to create a legal case history that can constitute as a reference
point for all those people who find themselves in dire straits in the

Alessandro Gilioli: Scorza is doing a great job, be it in terms of
judicial information be it concerning the project for the literacy of
politicians. The Right to Net is just one of the many platforms where
action can begin. To me it seems useful that the debate and eventual
"political" initiatives are as flexible and plural as possible, even
when offline. Let's not fall into the trap of thinking of the Net as
a problem that only regards bloggers. It's an issue that concerns all
citizens, as an open democracy.

Derrick de Kerckhove: The question is very interesting! I absolutely
agree with the request to create forms of information, discussion
and assistance for all those people who are in difficulty concerning
the problem of the forms of control. In Piazza Navona the people
present at the event were less than those who had taken part online,
this probably depends on how the news about the strike action was
distributed but also depends on the novelty of it.... I hope that
the number of Italians capable of expressing their consent/dissent
to these laws increases greatly because it is their right as well as
their duty, in other words the more people participate the more they
create/whip-up a case of legal interest... finding a way to protect
this "Right to Net" with international laws. For example, in part
of the decree by Alfano there is a constitutional illegitimacy in
relation to the art.21, what are we waiting for to denounce this in
uproar? A thorough juridical study would be best, to guarantee this
"Right to the Net", to "build", through a scientific committee made up
of Italian jurors, substantial legal support, with great visibility
on the Net, that underlines the contrasts between ddl Alfano and the

Marco Mancuso: Social Networks and virtual/real identity. How can
the project "The Right to the Net" be compared to the universe of
Social Networks, how do they or will they use dynamics of integration
with platforms like Delicious, Twitter and Facebook (I don't mean
integrating videos from Youtube, Vimeo or Digg, that is commonplace
now), ad most of all how will the unsolved dilemma of giving a face,
a body, a physicality for action to that virtual identity that exists
behind every account that participates to your initiative? What
dynamics should be used as leverage? I ask you because you had the
courage to face this topic, in the moment when you asked people to
participate physically in Piazza Navona on the 15th of July while
doing the "blog strike" online at the same time.

Alessandro Gilioli: That's the point. To make the issue of the Net
in Italy come out of the closed circuit of bloggers and Net-Fans is
fundamental. You need to work at it every day. Every person must, with
his or her own means - in order to create a civil battle for everyone.
It's also an economical battle: the innovation of Italy - is very
slow and scarce compared to other countries, not just European ones
- and does not just pass through the widening of the band, but also
through the widening of collective consciousness. A virtual reality
that distinctly sets against physical reality no longer exists (if it
ever did): the virtual is a part of the real - and an important part
too. The "Physical" encounter in Piazza Navona had a symbolic value.
In this, I believe that whoever has acted on the Net for many years
must step forward, avoid feeling snobby and part of a "different and
more advanced world", face themselves and get their hands dirty with
topics like literacy and distribution.

Derrick de Kerckhove:...and must persuade the mainstream media in
Italy to join in.

Marco Mancuso: You are an affirmed journalist of a large editorial
group, but at the same time you are also one of the most renowned
bloggers on the Italian Network. On more than one occasion you did
not hesitate to take an activist stand and you presented your blog
Piovono Rane (It's Raining Frogs) to the defence of cases like, as I
can recall, the case of the raid on the Community Centre Cox18 and the
Calusca Archive. How do you conciliate your role as a journalist for
the editorial group "L'Espresso" with your role as a blogger online:
in other words, how much does the Net (as a mass medium considered to
be of little impact compared to newspapers and TV) still allow for
a margin of free activist action to professional journalists like
yourself, and how much will it increasingly become a balance between
the will of the individual professional and the ontology of the Press.
And how big is the risk of the proliferation of blogs that express
precise opinions and assume certain positions with the purpose of
collecting users (and therefore readers, or potential electors) from
social areas that are more extreme (be they left or right wing)?

Alessandro Gilioli: Personally I am lucky to work for a newspaper that
has a long tradition of civil battles and so I have the possibility
to "use" blogs quite freely for that which you cal "activism". Blogs
allow for a margin of autonomy and independence that - if managed
with responsibility and awareness - is much greater than that of a
printed newspaper (which is still a collective product). The balance
between personal activism and the position of the newspaper has
many variables though and must be measured with intelligence every
day. It's obvious that in my blog - which is a part of the website
of the "Espresso" - I have greater responsibility and constraints
compared to another hypothetical personal blog outside the website
of the newspaper. But it's worth it, because being a part of the
"Espresso" you also have an audience and greater feedback, which makes
it easier to defend those cases that you speak of, and eventually get
to activism. In other words, it means you can move better - for the
results that you want to obtain - in the "balance" between positions
of the newspaper and personal freedom. On the other hand, here luckily
the funny but golden rule that the BBC gave as a unique policy to
its journalists-bloggers: do as you like, but use your common sense
and your head. Which isn't bad as a margin for freedom. As for the
proliferation of blogs that take extreme positions or super assertive
"to the sole purpose of attracting users", I don't see anything wrong
with that or anything "risky": everyone must have the right to do
the blog he or she chooses, with the purpose that they want, and it
will be the users - the readers - who will give them credibility and

Derrick de Kerckhove: A healthy relationship between the press and the
networks is essential for the well-being and the openness of society.
Every government experiences the temptation to control the media,
every newspaper at times experiences nervousness at publishing risky
reports. The condition of freedom, not only of people?s expression
but also of their movement rests largely on an open relationship
between government, mainstream media and the network. The network is
not a new underground, it is the ground itself. People have to be
able to express their opinions and desires and see them reflected
in the media when they pertain to social well-being as in the case
of Iran. On the other hand, the presence of mainstream journalists
who are also credible in the world of networks is part of the public
image of great editorial groups. There is, in Canada, the principle
of "arms length" between the government and the media, that is,
they are inevitably closely related but manage somehow to maintain
their independence mutually. A journalist with a blog establishes
the liaison between the world of individual opinion and information
to the world of media consensus. It requires, of course someone
capable to maintain a quality blog. An "arms length" agreement"
between government and the press on the matter of reporting is thus
necessary. By which I mean, that a respected newspaper should never
be refrained from reporting on public opinion for fear that the
government will retire its support. And a respected journalist like
Alessandro Gilioli should never have to fear the consequences on his
honest reporting in blogs as well as on the paper. Internally the
editorial board may not always be ready to take risks. But, in many
newspapers of international reputation such as le Monde in France, The
New York Times in the US, and La Repubblica in Italy there is enough
professional honesty and standards to tolerate a critical attitude
within their midst. The association creates a greater sense of trust
among the papers? readers. Thus, there ought to be a mutual support
between network, citizen journalists and the mainstream media. Long
before blogs were invented, the collaboration has begun dozens of
years ago, with England?s Daily Telegraphy taking the lead in the
early nineties, by seeking the opinions of people on line and offering
special services. Media began to act as accelerators of pertinent
citizen news. Artists -artisvist- groups in Italy, such Taziana
Bazichelli?s AHA or Alessandro Ludovico?s NEURAL have shown the way.
The idea has always been to help the main media, not to ut the then
down. The consequence should be that the main media recognize the
value added service provided by responsible reflexive hacktivism,
and citizien, eyewitness journalism. If we want to still talk about
democracy in the next few critical years, networks and media must work
together to advise and dissuade governments from silly or dangerous
impulses to block free expression of the public. Governments, after
all, are not a private profit-oriented businesses, they belong to the
people who vote for them and the electorate should be able to expect
the services it has paid for.

Marco Mancuso: I'll ask you a question that I asked the authors of
the graphic novel Persepolis 2.0 last month, an artistic project of
re- editing of the graphic novel Persepolis that traces an artistic
and narrative parallel between the Iranian revolution of 1979 and the
protest movements of 2009. My thought, and that of the authors, is
that from the moment that the protest of young people in Iran of the
past few weeks was repressed by violence, and causes the simultaneous
closure of Networks and a hunt for bloggers and all those from Iran
who were "guilty" of having communicated with the rest of the world
by reporting the violence that was taking place, the great mass
media (but also online) did not cover or emphasize the situation,
abandoning the Iranian population and leaving it to its destiny. In
other words, it's evermore evident that the Net (as the mass medium
that it now is) has an enormous potential in keeping the attention
on certain political situations in the world and consequently has a
growing responsibility (be it ethical or professional) concerning its
potential and its shortcomings. When the Net, the countercultures
on the Internet, the initiatives that are concerned with freedom of
expression online, websites like Reppublica or L'Espresso, blogs, do
not use their potential (or only do so for short periods of time and
only connected to the "hottest" news bulletins), you ask yourself
how much are we who work on the distribution of news and culture on
the Net responsible of some shortcomings or hypocrisies. What do you
think? Don't you think that at times the Net falls into professional
dynamics that are too similar to those of common mass media, therefore
slowly losing part of its revolutionary force and its propulsive
dynamics, as naive as they may be?

Alessandro Gilioli: Perfection is no one's and nobody's, not even
the Net's. But on the Net there are "long lines" and retrievals, and
niche websites that don't "let go" of a topic such as Burma or Iran
just because current affairs has. So things are better than they were
20 years ago, when there were just Print newspapers and so consult
archives you had to go to the public library, or if you wanted to
know what was happening in a far-off country that was ignored by the
newspapers you had to walk around various associations in a City. For
example, for personal reasons I follow the Burma situation closely,
but I cannot do a daily post of Burma because if not I will have lost
dozens of readers: which would not be useful for the distribution
of other important news. At the same time, when I see something new
or strong about Burma then I gladly put it in there. Once again,
for a journalistic-generalist website or blog it's a question of
balance and good sense. Another issue for blogs and niche websites,
naturally, is that are like online data banks that are perpetually
updatable and consultable. In other words, I wouldn't get too paranoid
about "Journalist logic" of online activism as a negative dynamic:
the important thing is that there's a plurality that is as free
as possible and contains as many voices and topics, battles and
elaborations as possible.

Derrick de Kerckhove: I don't think so, because I think the problem
lies elsewhere and is much more dangerous, as that quoted of the
repression of blogs in Iran. The accessibility of anybody on the
Net creates conditions for absolute control. There will be a great
temptation in many countries, like Italy (and perhaps even the United
States in the next Republican "reign") to experiment a kind of
"electronic fascism".

Marco Mancuso: I would like to conclude this interview by trying to
reflect on a point that I think is important: the very existence of
this interview! Aside from the obvious and right dynamics of the
younger professional who interviews the expert, of the counterculture
website like Digicult that is interested in the activities of a
journalist of an important national Newspaper and a great editorial
group, I ask myself whether this interview signals a certain weakness
in the project The Right to Net. In other words, don't you think
that there's the risk that these initiatives are perceived as
vertical initiatives, directed by an intellectual elite that despite
everything doesn't speak the same language as the new classes of
professionals and intellectuals that have been created in Italy in
the past decade, that despite everything remain too far away from the
common people, from young people who do politics on the Net, from
the activist countercultures that animate it? I'm sure that, and
luckily may I add, the initiative was a success and I've seen that
many people participated in the platform The Right to Net, but at the
same time, by reading a few posts here and there, I'm still struck
by certain messages like: "The initiative has seen participants and
bloggers from every political area (but also non-political areas)
and representatives from various parties and associations. Some of
the participants: Ignazio Marino, Vincenzo Vita, Mario Adinolfi and
Francesco Verducci (Pd - Democratic Party); Antonio Di Pietro (Idv):
Pietro Folena (Party of the European Left); "Amici di Beppe Grillo"
(Friends of Beppe Grillo) in Rome, Calabria and Taranto; Articolo
21; Sinistra e Libert? (Left and Freedom); Per il Bene Comune (For
the Common Good); Partito Liberale Italiano (PLI). On an individual
level other people have participated such as Giuseppe Civati, Sergio
Ferrentino, Massimo Mantellini, Alessandro Robecchi, Claudio Sabelli
Fioretti, Ivan Scalfarotto, Luca Sofri, Marco Travaglio and Vittorio
Zambardino. Some parliamentarians from the ruling party (like Antonio
Palmieri and Bruno Murgia), even if they won't be in the piazza, have
expressed their opposition to the "Net- Gagging" law in the Alfano
decree.... in other words, the introduction into "new" environments
is not underlined in traditional politics and in the dominant
intellectual society, as much as the classes and groups and people who
think they can represent a "guide" but that perhaps many people on the
Net or people who do politics through new technologies, are no longer
perceived as real "alternatives" from a political point of view. What
do you think about this?

Alessandro Gilioli: I don't want to repeat myself, but it's still
a question of balance. If the participation in a battle of people
who are stimulated and considered authoritative for different
reasons is useful for the result of the battle itself, this should
be communicated and valued. If I had written: "My grocer Gino
participated too, as well as my doorman Guido, my cleaner Luz and the
neighbourhood officer Erminio", I would have been more horizontal
and more democratic, but a little silly too. The important thing is
that when the initiative takes place, everyone mixes up the same way,
without verticality or leadership (for this reason in Piazza Navona
I avoided getting up on a stage and talking, leaving the speeches
up to a judicial expert such as Scorza and a Network expert such as
De Kerckhove). If hundreds of "unknown" blogs hadn't participated
in the strike, it would have been a failure. But in the moment of
preparation the participation of "authoritative" characters was
useful so as to involve the "unknown" blogs. In other words, we try
to avoid ideologies and to be pragmatic: it's right that there are
no leaderships and personal interests, but it's also right that
authoritative characters "spend their time" if this can be useful to
the positive outcome of the initiative. It is strenuous to find the
right balance between the two each and every time.

Derrick de Kerckhove: I don't know Italian politics well enough to
be able to answer this question, but I will say that whatever the
quantity - be it homeopathic - of the representation of the critique
of power, the effect is believable, if it does not touch the masses.
This means that there are people circulating on the net that are
capable of having a believable and authoritative position, in the
sense that Social Networks are a pertinent world of connections:
person to person, group to group, they become a fact... like a Press
Release.... It has happened in other historical situations. Think
of the voice of a person who lives outside his or her country and
conditions an ever-growing network of people in the rest of the world.
It's an interesting thing; it means that it's perfectly possible to
find a reference on the Internet that comes at light speed to the
right person. I think that this is the great power of the Internet,
from a small dosage of information that becomes important, that
circulates at light speed and allows people to "do things". As Mc
Luhan says: "light speed is the maximum function of speed not the
quantity of information, it's the speed of access that makes the
mass, it's a mass of real time, a mass that is built up and broken
down. Information works that way, it's a different way with respect
to traditional strategies of the so-called mass media". Having said
that, I continue to sustain that in order to make a positive action
of persuasion on the government, a union of all the official Press
is preferable, if they accept to take a stand on this topic... and I
think that the Union of the Press would be essential in the future
of political decisions. This in my belief and must be the effect of
other initiatives of "The Right to Net". The stimuli and pressure come
from the Internet, from Social Networks, from blogs, and are released
into reality, into the media, the mainstream, because the Internet is


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