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About The Authors

Suw Charman-Anderson

Suw Charman-Anderson

Suw Charman-Anderson is a social software consultant and writer who specialises in the use of blogs and wikis behind the firewall. With a background in journalism, publishing and web design, Suw is now one of the UK’s best known bloggers, frequently speaking at conferences and seminars.

Her personal blog is Chocolate and Vodka, and yes, she’s married to Kevin.

Email Suw

Kevin Anderson

Kevin Anderson

Kevin Anderson is a freelance journalist and digital strategist with more than a decade of experience with the BBC and the Guardian. He has been a digital journalist since 1996 with experience in radio, television, print and the web. As a journalist, he uses blogs, social networks, Web 2.0 tools and mobile technology to break news, to engage with audiences and tell the story behind the headlines in multiple media and on multiple platforms.

From 2009-2010, he was the digital research editor at The Guardian where he focused on evaluating and adapting digital innovations to support The Guardian’s world-class journalism. He joined The Guardian in September 2006 as their first blogs editor after 8 years with the BBC working across the web, television and radio. He joined the BBC in 1998 to become their first online journalist outside of the UK, working as the Washington correspondent for BBCNews.com.

And, yes, he’s married to Suw.

E-mail Kevin.

Member of the Media 2.0 Workgroup
Dark Blogs Case Study

Case Study 01 - A European Pharmaceutical Group

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Interview series:
at the FASTforward blog. Amongst them: John Hagel, David Weinberger, JP Rangaswami, Don Tapscott, and many more!

Corante Blog

Monday, March 31st, 2008

F2C: Susan Crawford

Posted by Suw Charman-Anderson

Susan Crawford: I have an image of a ticking clock because all good talks have a sense of urgency. And life is short, so we should tackle big questions today.

What makes a life significant?
- and inner ideal, intellectual, conscious, novel
- joined with active will

These ideals have to be joined to will and action.

Back to the ticking clock. My father’s life is drawing to a close, not this month, but soon. So the ideal for him is to listen to music, as he is a composer. For him, the ideal is pure human expression in music. It’s the most powerful thing to him - as his mind gives up and his body decays, the music stays.

Going to tie together music as an ideal, the great subjects of this conference. I do believe in an open internet and want to make this talk as human as possible.

We will spend a lot of time talking about network operators, because in the US these companies suffer inadequate competition for high-speed access. We’re paying a lot for low speeds, but they are not monopolies. This is an oligopoly, with a few sellers providing for the industry. They act for the industry as a whole, so there will never be ruinous competition, but prices will never serve the users, it’s not a competition model, it’s something in between.

There is incomplete substitutability, as products offered aren’t the same. These differences amplified by huge amounts of ads. Market power different only in degree from a monopolist, but similar in kind.

Can’t go to antitrust, as their actions will always adhere to the letter of the law, and it would undermine the economy, and litigation would be ruinous.

What’s the model? Stuck on the idea of competition, the idea that enough actors competing will give just he right results. Does restraint come from other companies? Doesn’t seem so.

In an oligopolistic world, the restraint comes from retailers or consumers/users of the good, and that countervailing power is what answers the power of the oligopoly.

But the users aren’t there. we need to find a way to organise the users in a way that would make restrains real. Doesn’t have to be present in regulation, doesn’t have to be law, if there were adequate countervailing power from users.

We can be as smart as we want to be, but without votes, without the ability to affect how a congressman feels about an issue, we’re nowhere. The problem with net neutrality is that it’s not actively connected to people who vote. Source of the countervailing power has to be user stories, human communication, made possible through the internet, that makes those lives more significant. The stories that give your life purpose need to be told.

I’m not the one to tell them, the way to do this is to simply the message, make it as simple as possible, as musical as possible, so that is’ about the openness of the internet. Each one of them has these ideals that can be empowered, and we have to tell that story that aggregates the response to oligopoly.

Galbraith who thought about countervailing power used to go singing on NYE, and used to lead Auld Lang Syne, and need to do more of that. If I die tomorrow, I want to have talked to you about the effort to bring those stories forward via One Web Day. Out of character for me.

Purpose is to globalise a constituency of the internet. Whatever local issue are, to focus on those, could be connectivity, censorship, etc. 22 Sept. Third one this year. Opportunity to tell stories and teach about how it makes our lives better. Offline and online events. Lots of blog posts, twitters, videos. To make visible the constituency that will provide the countervailing force to the oligopoly.

But the leader isn’t me, it has to be you. Be a part of the celebration this year.

Each talk can have only one message. Mine is that whatever you do, do something to bring people together. Our work and our lives are so closely intertwined, and there’s a great source of countervailing power in all internet users that hasn’t been called on to tell its stories, and I’m here to ask you to do that.

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3 Responses to “F2C: Susan Crawford”

  1. Brett Glass Says:

    Susan, here you go again: Denying that small ISPs like mine exist. As you did in Washington on March 13th before the Antitrust Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee. There, you pushed for laws and regulations that would actually create the duopoly you decry by wiping out small operators like me. Why? Do you have so much ego invested in your fight against the big guys that you are actually willing to kill off those of us who constitute the best solution to duopoly?

  2. Seth Johnson Says:

    Brett Glass has zeroed in on one comment Susan made, not in her main comments, one that as far as I recall was not reductive in the way Brett’s saying anyway, and he’s just got to *work it* — just got to try to make that the point.

    Probably because everything Susan said was so damn *great.*

  3. Brett Glass Says:

    Seth, you’re obviously a fan of Susan’s, which is fine. But her MULTIPLE comments claiming that there is already a complete duopoly — and they are not peripheral; she makes them again and again with great emphasis — are more destructive than she realizes. They are being used to promote legislation and regulation that would actually cause the duopoly to come to pass.