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Editor's Letter: Openness, Democracy, and Interactivity (01 Jul 2004)
Our digital communications network is opening possibilities to a vast array of new conditions and behaviors. As it does so, we need to consider how best to stay true to democratic values, while encouraging new structures that can help us improve our ability to confront global problems (as the visionary Douglas Engelbart would insist). In his article, "Interactivity and The Open Society," Hardin Tibbs draws attention to a crucial piece of the digital puzzle: interactivity, and how it contributes to a robust online experience. The range of action allowed to us by our online infrastructure will have an immediate impact on our ability to act as citizens. As Tibbs suggests, we need to treat our digital infrastructure as an essential part of our public commons and not as a shopping mall. The way we engage in our communities, our ability to see ourselves as part of an interdependent, dynamic web of life, depends on our doing so.
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