September 25, 2008

universal governance

I just saw a special on CNN regarding YouTube in connection with the videos posted by the young Finnish man who then entered into his school and shot 8 classmates. YouTube is a global phenomenon interacting with people around the world with virtually no filters or controls from above. A representative from YouTube explained that given its global nature, no one legal system would be in a position to set controls, so whatever oversight exists comes from the viewers who are invited to contact YouTube in the case they view a video that is not appropriate, one that disturbs or insults. The video in question is then removed by YouTube management. In an extreme case, like the video uploaded by the young Finnish man, contacting the police would also be advised.

This system of governance requires proactive action on the part of individual viewers and, as we have seen, this involves a "doing" vs "being" characteristic that has cultural roots. There are cultures that encourage the individual to stand out and take individual action, with the belief that the individual can and should make a difference. Other cultures, less oriented toward the individual, encourage waiting, defering to authorities and leaving the question to fate.

How do these cultural differences influence the process of filtering out inappropriate YouTube videos? Can we assume that the system, it its global extension, will properly govern itself?

a domani,

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