Some digital organizations want your enthusiasm, and will suck this dry with offers of representation and feedback. How do you know your interests are being represented when the social network (SN) or virtual organization (VO) sets up a feedback system? What if they create some kind of users committee? What if they ask you to vote? All of these look like democratic practices. But the real test comes when decisions are made. Remember that democracy is a form of governance. If your feedback form, vote, representative delegate has no authority within the governance system, it’s just a zombie practice. It looks vaguely like democracy from a distance.
Most VOs and SNs are RUN BY SOMEONE… someone with their own interests. Someone being paid to do so. And that someone is probably not you. If they conjure up some kind of democratic shell game, demand to know how decisions are being made and where the money goes. If they are honest and tell you they want your feedback because it’s valuable to them and it might help them serve you better–you know where you stand.
Photo Credit: Ateo Fiel on Flickr. used with CC atribution license