A scale free network is the product of uneven distributions of connections between nodes within a system. In his article Power Laws, Weblogs & Inequality Clay Shirky discusses how these scale free networks rise and the ways in which influence spreads.

According to Shirky, new social systems tend to be free of the elitism that creates the privilege in a society that leads to inequality. However, as the system grows in complexity some individuals are more capable of providing input than others, thus creating scaling discrepancies between network actors. Democracy can be defined simply as majority rule. Meaning that in this form of management decision making power held is by the majority of those within the organization. Having an absence of scale within a network would obscure democratic processes in that the voice of the majority would not be the one making impactful choices instead, it would be the voices of the most connected.

In a later TedTalk Shirky discussed how changes in the media landscape have expanded the public sphere, where in public opinion is discussed and decisions are made. This public sphere was once heavily controlled but due to changes in media much of the power has been diffused and placed back in the hands of citizens. Increases in connectivity allow for people to share information at rapid speeds without filter. The general populace has taken a new role as not only consumers of data but also as producers. According to Shirky once a power law distribution exists it is often unresponsive to external pressures, making change difficult. However due to the transformation of the media social systems have been placed under a microscope. They are being held accountable by not only their citizens but the rest of the world.