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Newsmakers Discover the New Tools of Communications
Dan Gillmor, Center for Citizen Media

Track: Emerging Topics
Date: Thursday, February 12
Time: 2:45pm - 3:30pm
Location: California Ballroom C

From politics to big business, newsmakers are figuring out how to use modern communications tools to enhance their ideas and bottom lines. But the tools in question are the ones at the edges of the networks -- weblogs, RSS, mobile SMS and a variety of other technologies. How do we encourage this and keep it honest?

Because 2004 is a pivotal election year, we'll examine the way the political world has taken to these new-media tools. Howard Dean's presidential campaign, more than any in recent times, has grasped the nature of the Net and has taken advantage of it. Crucially, the campaign has not tried to control what happens at the edges even while encouraging the activity. Meanwhile, other candidates and campaigns have begun using the tools in their own ways. A subtext: politics is becoming infused with technology. Can actual governance?

Business people have also begun to grasp the value of weblogs and other edge-to-edge communications tools. Why does this matter? Because the audience -- customers, suppliers, employers, community -- gets better information this way.

Like all tools, these can be misused, and there are already some gross examples, such as PR people posting weblog comments without identifying their connection to the product they tout. We must develop ways to sniff out the deceivers.

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