Blog 9: Political Involvement and the Internet
I do not thing that engaging in politics online is anywhere equivalent to actually participating in politics in “real life.” Any one is capable of posting a status that is related to politics but that does not make them politically active. As they say actions speak louder than words. It is very easy to click “like” on Facebook or to follow someone on Twitter, but that does not mean that these people are willing to go out and fight for the cause they “support” online. Almost everyone on a social network joins a group for a cause that they would like to support but do not do anything about it. I think that being involved in politics in “real life” involves actively going out in the world and participating in events that show your political beliefs. Most people who are involved in real life politics are on social networks. They have twitters in which thousands of people follow.
I think that social networking sites do have some politcal benefits. It allows for users to become informed about politcal happenings in their area. For example if I wanted to start going to poltical rallies, I could look online for a date and time and all of a sudden I am politically active. In these regards I think that social networking and online sources do help people toward to direction of becoming actively involved. More recently online politics have been put in the spotlight with the events unfolding in Egypt and Tunisia. In these cases I think that social networks led to organized action. They were not the sole factors behind the uprisings in these countries. I do however think they were the reason word spread so quickly to the people. I think that the video below sums it up perfectly. It talks about the medias role in Egypt and Tunisia and about how it has brought groups together to rally.
Social networks are definitely something that I believe will continue to develop and influence politics. In the 2008 Presidential election social media played a huge role in Obama’s campaign. Support for his campaign grew very quickly through social networks. I think in the future these websites will have a huge impact on elections and many other things related to politics. It is a great tool for spreading news and getting the word out there. However just because you follow something on the internet does not make you politically active, but doing something about it does.