As a network evangelist fascinated by social media, I was delighted when invited to the premiere of “Us Now” in Oslo. My invitation came through Facebook and most of my friends Twittered about it. The film was introduced by the Director Ivo Gormley who was present for the debate afterwards with the theme: ‘Can we all govern and which consequences does a social medium have for Norwegian government, corporations and organizations?’ or as shown on the screen: ‘Welcome to Facebook Democracy’ (I had my Nokia N82 on hand to capture some of the moments of course – click to bigify!):

Us Now premiere in Oslo Norway #1 Us Now premiere in Oslo Norway #2

‘Us Now’ is a documentary film project about the power of mass collaboration, the government and the Internet. The film weaves together the perceptions of leading thinkers on the power of the web, with the overriding suggestion that people gain a sense of satisfaction from active participation rather than symbolic representation in decision-making processes. As a Web 2.0 project, the material generated during the project is available on their website and culminate in this hour long documentary we saw. Here is a peek from YouTube:

During the debate afterwards, some from the audience asked why it wasn’t fully available on YouTube yet, and it looked like Mr. Ivo Gormley was a bit ‘embarrassed’ when he said; ‘I hope it will be soon’ :-)

Synopsis:
One ‘story’ in the film was about ‘Couch Surfing’, a vast online network whose members share their homes with ‘strangers’. I felt familiar with the idea right away as I was thinking of how many wonderful people I know all around the globe in the Blogsphere and how many of them I have met already – and will in the future!

Another was about Jack Howe in his student flat in Colchester picking the team for Ebbsfleet United’s FA Trophy Semi-Final match against Aldershot:

Us Now premiere in Oslo Norway #3
Ebbsfleet United playing in the film captured with my Nokia N82.

Around the world 35,000 other fans are doing the same thing, because together, they own and manage the football club. If distributed networks of people can run complex organisations such as football clubs, what else can they do?

After watching the movie, there was this panel debate:
Us Now premiere in Oslo Norway #4

On the stage from let to right: Lillian Olsen, CEO of Halogen Ltd. – Bård Vegar Solhjell, The Norwegian Minister of Education – Jan Omdahl, press commentator at Dagbladet and Heidi Nordby Lunde, a famous Norwegian blogger at VamPus and a politician.

To me there is no question whether the internet and social media is a tool for mass or grass root collaborations. I often say ‘Blogging connecting People’ and even more; ‘Empowering People‘ all over the world (well, at least as far as internet is spread!). The question is more how and in what area of our globalised life is affected and how it will influence the society and politics of the future.
Some facts about Norway say a lot: Of just under 5 million Norwegians, over four million are online and 1.5 million on Facebook. 2500 members in a Facebook-group have changed the topping on Norway’s favourite frozen pizza, while another group organised a massive candle lit march in support of the victims of the Gazastrip. Is there a limit to what can be achieved? I think we can do much more than just scratch the surface or topping if you like. What do you think?

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