I think Mason needs to be more on point about just how and when people like myself might start a revolution. I've been out of work, destitute, and living off of the generosity of others for a while now. Yet I hardly feel that my brethren and I will lead a "revolt" anytime soon. Mason needs to account for this. Am I part of the intelligentsia he refers to or am I a just destitute "graduate without a future"? Actually, (in a cross cultural context) I'm both and he is missing the explanatory mechanism for this pivot point within his argument. More precisely by looking at only the large picture he is missing the subtle, yet pivotal, differences between different cultures.
After that I have a few major nitpicks with some of his generlizations.
Therefore truth moves faster than lies, and propaganda becomes flammable.
In what context? In repressive regimes? In all regimes? This is too broad to be useful, even in a "general" context. General to what? Self-associated Online Groups? Where is the proof of this conjecture? I think it is well documented that large companies have made use of online influencers. What high profile industry watch-blogger hasn't gotten a product of two for "review" on their blog? Now this might or might not fit Mason's conception of "propaganda" but we need to take a serious look at this conjecture, that all truth travels faster then all lies. The facts just don't support this as a universal. I am prepared to accept the quoted statement above, when and if, Mr. Mason decides to provide the appropriate cultural and contextual support (ie, the truth is faster then lies in a dictatorial regime). I am not sure if this is or isn't Mason's implication, but like all pundits of the 2.0 he leaves the question far too broad and ill-defined.
This is another shot in the dark.
6. Horizontalism has become endemic because technology makes it easy: it kills vertical hierarchies spontaneously, whereas before - and the quintessential experience of the 20th century - was the killing of dissent within movements, the channeling of movements and their bureaucratisaton.Again to what situations is this applicable, just dictatorial regimes or does this imply democracies as well?
And this is particularly contentious with me
8. They all seem to know each other: not only is the network more powerful than the hierarchy - but the ad-hoc network has become easier to form.
As if those of us who aren't radically mobile political trend-setters need to be reminded how the nationalist voice of our own problems is stolen by the cosmopolitan, well-fed and city-bound intelligentsia! As I've stated earlier, I have a foot in both worlds, so what world is the real?
The world looks more like 19th century Paris - heavy predomination of the "progressive" intelligentsia, intermixing with the slum-dwellers at numerous social interfaces
And what sir are you! And what am I! and what good does this do! You don't even hear my voice! As you ignore it at the expense of your own bias and interest! You don't even know enough to know what you might be missing. There is more at work then the information that gets funneled and possibly distorted by the internet.
As I've said before Mason gets a good deal right, but he ignores the details that make the differences. I think it is dangerous to view the web as a true association or corporation all its own. We just don't have enough data to determine how relations work over the web. We don't know the extent or the factors or even the context to put it all in. And any attempt such as Mr. Mason's just stokes the political firestorm without contributing to the general enlightenment of the masses or the definition of the reality of the situation. Broad sweeping generalities didn't cut it before the internet, I see no reason to think the internet has given us a right to start doing so, simply because we lack the important details relevant to the reality of the situation.
EDIT: Link to a piece by Glenn Greenwald, I read such an article to mean that corporations are acutely aware of what propaganda is and how it works. This goes back to my first nitpick. In what context is Mr. Mason claiming that it is a social law that the truth travels faster then lies? It might be the case in a capitalist society that the opposite is true, and where the "propaganda" or "lies" aren't just from the government but also from the corporate sector.