The New York times ran an article on the effectiveness of Chris Bowers' initiative to expose the hypocrisy and inconsistency of Republican candidates ahead of the US November congressional elections. It leverages Google's search engine algorithms by linking the names of prominent Republicans to trusted, accurate news sources on the web that expose the gulf between what they practice and what they preach. Bloggers have legitimately managed to ensure that the search term "miserable failure" produces the official web site of President Bush as the first available search result (Google has now altered its algorithms to prevent this type of 'gaming of the system').
This reminded me of the uncompromising news produced by The Yellow Times which was forced off the web by the Republican war machine prior to the US/UK invasion of Iraq. Paul Harris, a Canadian freelance journalist, wrote a superb article a couple of years ago called Women have ruined the world that illustrates a point I want to make. In it he says;
"It has been my experience over a half century, most of that alive, that women tend to be much better people than men: more honest, more loyal, more caring, more thoughtful, more trustworthy, and much less dangerous. But women are to blame for the state of the world because they have utterly failed to take charge of it." He goes on to say;
"I am proposing a "new world order" - not that crap that George Bush the Elder was always talking about or even the biblical stuff that believers are always trying to force on others. I mean something real, something substantive; something designed to fix the mess we're in. I am proposing a political movement whose sole purpose is to convince all the nations of the world to change their laws so that only women can hold political office."
The article ends with;
"Think this is an idiotic notion? Then think on this: If men don't run things, there is no Hitler. There is no Mussolini. There is no Napoleon. There is no Hirohito. There is no Attila. There is no Genghis Khan. There is no Inquisition. There are no Crusades. There is no Robert Mugabe. There is no Ariel Sharon. There is no Stalin. There is no George Bush. Wouldn't that be a safer and happier world?"
I happen to agree with him. When men are in power, the difference between rape and seduction is only a question of salesmanship. They exercise power in a manner that is actually weakness disguised as strength.
In general, my experience of participating in online communities in the past few years is that despite their male dominance the posture, attitude and expression of these communities are predominantly female. By this I mean people are genuinely welcoming, offer unsolicited benevolence, guidance and assistance and freely give the most valuable thing that anyone can give; their time. This isn't normal for other types of patriarchal organisations.
To this day, I have no idea what particular combination of software, ethos and policies these networks have implemented, that attracts people to exhibit these female qualities online, but it's basically changing people's behaviour, and that behaviour is female in nature.
This was written almost 3 years ago. Since then, now the United States, UK, New Zealand, Singapore are many other countries have predominantly female members and overall across Facebook it's a 64%F/36%M split. See Techrunch for the detail.