Can social media increase and improve civic participation? If so, in what ways? There’s a lot being said and written about the subject these days, but it is difficult to get a clear overview of the opinions. I attempt here to collect viewpoints both for and against the premise that social media is creating a […]
The use of electronic means of communication for expressly political ends is creating a lot of buzz about eDemocracy, Emergent Democracy, eCitizenship or whatever one wants to call it. Opinions about what exactly eDemocracy will engender range from narratives about enhancing the current democratic process with new ways of engagement and participation, to a total reconceptualization of how society should govern itself. In general, most proponents of eDemocracy assume the following:
-eDemocracy will increase participation in politics and will make politics matter again.
-The power of eDemocracy will lie not in its ability to connect average people to their representatives, but in allowing average people to collaborate, organize, and help themselves.
-eDemocracy will work because we finally have access to low-cost tools to manage the volume and complexity of information that we must pay attention to in order to act as well-informed citizens.
-We are just waiting for the next eDemocracy killer app, the Napster of internet politics, to bring it all together.
Now, behind most of these assumptions is the idea that eDemocracy will revolutionize politics because it will re-empower the public. If the public consists of individuals in dialogue with each other, it stands to reason that the internet–which we are discovering is a great tool for communication–can greatly enhance the democratic process.