.In the olden days, we got our media fix by sitting around watching thetelly, listening to the radio or reading a book. Media was a decidedlyone-way relationship: a tiny minority noisily produced and the rest ofus silently consumed. The Internet has changed that; today, everyone is aproducer. We go to YouTube to watch videos made by amateurs like us. Wego to Flickr to upload photos for the perusal of strangers on the otherside of the world. We read news articles we can comment on and engagewith. The distinction between the active media producer and the passivemedia consumer has been abolished.
Well, not quite. Go to apopular, high-quality blog or online news outlet. Read some articles. Interesting, well-articulated stuff. Now read the comments. Okay, giveup reading the comments because they're an an enormous garbled mess .
Untilthis garbled mess is sorted out, the distinction between mediaproducers and consumers has done nothing more than get a bit blurry. Atyoomoot, we want to wipe it out altogether. We want to make it possibleto submerge ourselves in the voices of the virtual crowd and make senseof them as easily as we can make sense of a professional news article.Once this feat has been achieved the door will have been opened toanother dream – genuine mass collaboration.
Take a look at this forum which Barack Obama's team created shortly before he wasinaugurated as president. It allowed any member of the public tocomment on his presidential policies and, with thousands of peoplecommenting in a matter of days, it was in some respects an enormoussuccess. But you can also see that it suffers from the same old problemof pages and pages of unstructured text. Nobody can be bothered to readthrough this number of comments so, as a genuinemass-participation debate, it never even got started. Now imagine thatthat discussion was organised and that you could easily get an overviewof what was being said. Imagine if thousands of minds, each with theirown nugget of experience and expertise, could come together and debatecoherently. Imagine how useful, how revolutionary, that would be. If coherent mass discussions are possible, then coherent mass decision-making is possible too. Wedon't just want to change online discussion with Yoomoot, we want tochange the world.
Yoomoot is a small startup with a tiny budget, we have big ideas and we need your help. If you like what we are trying to do please spread the word or at least "Like us" on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/yoomoot
We are currently working on redesigning Yoomoot to make it easier to use.