There is research that shows that better decisions are taken by independent actors in a democratic manner, as compared to decisions taken by single individuals. Daniel Kahneman gives an overview of research behind this conclusion in his book “Thinking, Fast and Slow”. I am a stout believer in the democratic process and in collective decision-making. I sometimes have trouble choosing in my everyday life and I often waste time obsessing about different options.
When I was younger I read the novel The Dice Man by George Cockcroft (1971). That book kept fascinating me and I kept thinking about it through the years, though I never considered to try it. I was scared by the lack of emotional attachment in the decisions.
Today I asked twitter if I should go running or not. A friend on twitter encouraged me and off I went. During the run I thought of all the good it does us to hand over uncomfortable decisions to democracy instead of having to always assume responsibility. I thought of the debate of making it a democratic decision to split the parental leave according to parental rights to their child rather than as a family support (I guess you see where I lean in this question). Then I thought that maybe the superiority of democracy is valid also in very private situations, and I thought that my twitter account is an excellent way to investigate this.
I have spent the last years posting outrageous tweets that have scared away almost all people that don’t think like me. I have also generously blocked people that I dislike (which I have later unblocked, but who no longer follow me). I have been so dreadful that only people that are basically very sympathetic towards me have managed to stay on. It is amazing that this number amounts to over 2300 people. These people (of which I know very few irl), would not lack emotional attachment in the advice they would be giving me. These people can be the democratic support I need every I have a question where I hesitate. I just became single, so I hesitate a lot these days.
I would ask people of what to eat, how to dress, when and how much to exercise. And primarily how to interact with people in my private life.
What will this do for me? How will I evaluate this? Firstly participation; are people at all willing to participate? In what questions? Will they care about the detailed, unimportant questions, will they be disgusted by the power in the more personal decisions? So, primarily I want to investigate participation.
Second, there is the question of if my decisions get any better by outsourcing them to twitter. Each decision will have to be scored. I expect a much more cautions approach to everything as compared to what I would otherwise do, but hey, my followers might surprise me.
Third; will I be happier if I have twitter to make my decisions for me? I will be the judge of that.
Technically the experiment is designed as follows:
I remove all the people with whom I have a personal relationship with, whom I suspect would not act in an independent manner. Then I lock my account so only people that already follow me can interact with me. I am planning to keep the experiment running until next Sunday (7 of June) but I might interrupt earlier if there is a lack of interest. The rules for the decision-making are as follows:
1) My followers can only chose from the alternatives I give them
2) You can not spread any information from my account outside my followers for the time of the experiment since it will concern third parties who have obviously not given their consent
3) I chose what questions to pose
4) The alternative with most votes win. Votes are counted exactly 1 hour after the question was posed
5) I will completely submit to your decisions with no regrets
So, if you follow me on twitter, enjoy or be disgusted, whatever you chose. For the rest of you I will try to keep the blog updated, but all questions will be deleted before I open my account for access again.