“Bottom up”: Arse-over-tit

Arse-over-tit a splendid bit of British slang. And I think it’s easy to go that way using the term “bottom-up” to celebrate a lot of the good stuff happening in the world these days.

Flash mobs facebook groups, protests against higher charges etc… these are peer-to-peer things and to label them bottom-up seems to miss the point.

“Bottom up” frames these things merely as rebellions against authority, missing the positive benefits to participants of collaborating with others.

Some gestures towards interactivity are just bottom-up. So most Q and A sesssions at conferences are just “bottom-up”. You, the poor peasants in the audience, may ask a question of our distinguished expert, but keep it short. Oh, and we’ll lump your question with three other peasants’ questions and you may or may not get an answer. So your participation is on the leadership’s terms, and by complying with this set of instructions you reconfirm the leadership’s authority. All that’s missing really is the obligation to kiss the ring.

I don’t own the language, and I’m sure lots of folks will use the bottom-up to describe things that are more peer-to-peer. But I think there’s a difference.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.