“Le facebook inversé”

LittleSis has crossed the pond: Le Monde’s blog Bonne Nouvelle plugged the site today, and France’s first couple showed up soon after. Bonne Nouvelle is big into optimism, and we’re happy the site was presented in that context; LittleSis is all about political hope for our ailing democracy.

An excerpt from the post (translation thanks to Mike S):

CV’s, personal relations, financial scandals — everything is published here by vigilant citizens, who can then share information. The *incestuous relations between business and politics* are clearly innumerable! Take, for example, the Little Sis page of the much disliked George Bush, or even that of Steve Jobs. With facebook, people put their private lives on display with no taboos. But with this type of community initiative, they force the powerful to do the same. *Transparency is the same for all.*

For the record, we should note that LittleSis is not about the private lives of powerful citizens, but about their public lives; all of the data on the site is a matter of public record. Analysts are required to submit working reference links when making edits, and all modifications are logged and displayed, to ensure a transparent editing process.

The site continues to attract a lot of attention at home, too. Tim O’Reilly had this to say over Twitter yesterday:

In that vein, LittleSis.org is an “involuntary facebook of powerful Americans…profiling the powers that be.” Fascinating project!

Kottke liked the name and saw some parallels to a well-known social networking site:

Like Facebook, the site has a particular emphasis on how all these people are connected: politically, financially, socially. The best way to see what it’s all about is to check out some profiles: Barack Obama, Michael Bloomberg, and the list of the 400 richest Americans.

And Dirt Diggers Digest observed that the site could be very useful for grassroots organizing campaigns:

LittleSis is an exciting project that reinvigorates the tradition of power-elite research pursued in the pre-internet era by authors such as Gabriel Kolko and William Domhoff. It also builds on previous online efforts such as TheyRule. It could become an invaluable tool to help us understand the powers that be and pursue campaigns that make them less powerful.

Thanks for all the interest and feedback. Keep it coming!