I was amazed to read the following paragraphs, a conversation with Michel Foucault that appeared in the book Power/Knowledge. It seems blogging and the new participatory communications push could learn some things from THE theorist of the French Revolution: Rousseau. Read on about transparency, opinion, surveillance, power and the media [my emphasis in bold]:
"When the [French] Revolution poses the question of a new justice, what does it envisage as its principle? Opinion. The new aspect of the problem of justice, for the Revolution, was not so much to punish wrongdoers as to prevent even the possibility of wrongdoing, by immersing people in a field of total visibility where the opinion, observation and discourse of others would restrain them from harmful acts." p. 153
"This reign of 'opinion', so often invoked at this time, represents a mode of operation through which power will be exercised by virtual of the mere fact of things being known and people seen in a sort of immediate, collective and anonymous gaze. A form of power whose main instances is that of opinion will refuse to tolerate areas of darkness." p. 154
"Since opinion could only be good, being the immediate consciousness of the whole social body, they thought people would become virtuous by the simple fact of being observed. For them, opinion was like a spontaneous re-actualisation of the social contract. They overlooked the real conditions of possibility of opinion, the 'media' of opinion, a materiality caught up in the mechanisms of the economy and power in its forms of the press, publishing, and later the cinema and television." p. 161-2
"Perrot [in a question]: When you say they overlooked the media, you mean that they failed to see the necessity of working through the media?
Foucault: And failed to see that these media would necessarily be under the command of economico-political interests. They failed to perceive the material and economic components of opinion. They believed opinion would be inherently just, that it would spread of its own accord, that it would be a sort of democratic surveillance." p. 162