Yesterday, Esquire.com published a piece of commentary by the author who goes by the Twitter handle @ProfJeffJarvis. @ProfJeffJarvis is not the former TV Guide critic and journalism professor Jeff Jarvis, but his online persona satirizes a mode of thinking that the real Jarvis is known for. After the real Jeff Jarvis complained, Esquire deleted the story. It runs below as originally published, with permission from @ProfJeffJarvis.
The outstanding piece by Jim VandeHei in the Wall Street Journal really struck a chord with me, and articulated something I have been thinking for a long time. Decades since the creation of the computer, and 15 years since the start of the #social era, I must know: Why are our politics still so backward?
So, today, I’m announcing that I am joining The Innovation Party.
This is not a tired old establishment political party, with its focus on bamboozling people into giving us their “votes.” Nor is it a party founded on polarizing demagoguery, Trump-style, or making feckless promises like Bernie Sanders.
No, this is a party founded on technology, and its ability to change the world. The Innovation Party will be algorithm-first—truly the greatest happiness for the greatest number—rather than a constant horse-trade that pits one group against another in the name of so-called “democracy.”
The Innovation Party will be phablet-first, and communicate only via push notifications to smartphones. The only deals it cuts will be with Apple and Google, not with special interests. We will integrate natively with iOS and Android, and spread the message using emojis and GIFs, rather than the earth-killing longform print mailers of yesteryear. This will give us direct access to netizens, so we can be more responsive than any political party in history.
We will be all about transparency. Our party leaders will leave their DMs open on Twitter, and post their Apple IDs on their Facebook page, so any netizen can Facetime with their new rulers at any hour of the day. We will even support Windows Phone and the BlackBerry Priv, to make sure that no netizen is left behind.
The Innovation Party will post its manifesto on Medium, and it will carefully read all Genius annotations about its policies, to make sure it stays accountable and truly enacts the will of the people. We will offer regular updates by posting micro-manifestos, either to Medium or to Plurk, such as “Why I’m raising a VAT,” or “Why you’re leaving New York” if we decide that resettlements are needed.
It’s not only traditionally public social media where The Innovation Party will be open and transparent. All party leaders’ Snapchat Stories must be set to “Everyone,” rather than only “My Friends.” Incremental change is not enough at this point.
With the full support of Apple and Google, and deep embedding into their OS, there will no longer be a need for lobbyists. We can go directly to the people, with Twitter Polls on traditionally fraught issues. Let the netizens decide, at last.
Similarly, instead of vesting too much authority in one person, the President of the United States, with all the temptations for abuse that centralizing power entails, we can and will distribute our power. Netizens will be co-opted to both fly drones over Pakistan, East Africa, and other trouble spots, and also to make the difficult call: Does this house really look like it is harboring terrorists? And should we deploy a Hellfire missile at the house or not? Cast your votes!
The Innovation Party will, in close cooperation with the App Store and Google Play, create a series of national apps: for example, to match unemployed citizens with on-demand services who need workers, or to identify overpopulated cities that need de-settling.
I really believe it’s time for a sea change in our civic life and government. We can leave behind the dumb politics of “meatspace” and drive the conversation straight ahead to Future Politics, where algorithms and coders make the best possible decisions for the many, not the few.
We are the Innovation Party. I hope you’ll join us on your preferred medium.