Blog 9: Political Involvement Online
With the recent events in both Libya and Egypt, one cannot deny the power of social media in politics. Although social networks and internet are not the only factors that tie into the riots in these countries, they have proven to play a role. So, is being involved in politics online the same as being involved in politics in person?
I do believe that being politically active online can have a great effect if used properly. In order for civic engagement to be effective online there has to be a desire to connect with other individual through out the country or even the world and spread ideas. Simply sitting at home and clicking the “like” button on facebook will do nothing. In order to effectively be politically involved in the online atmosphere, you must connect with others.
However, I also believe that the success of civic engagement via the internet also heavily relies on “real life” civic involvement and vice verse. You cannot rely solely on online activity to demonstrate an idea or prove a point to political leaders. To an extent, you do need that real world involvement. On the other hand, the internet is an effective tool for spreading ideas and information. In order for real life involvement to have an effect, the internet must be used to spread information to a wide variety of people through out the world. Take the recent events in Egypt as an example. People merely sitting at home on their computers talking about these issues wouldn’t have solved anything. However, the internet proved to be a great asset to organizing and encouraging civic involvement and allowing this information to be spread not only across the nation but also across the world. Both real life and online civic involvement was necessary for this revolution to happen.
I dare to say that both forms of activity are effective if used in the proper manner. These two concepts, that seem so distinct yet interdependent, are only strengthening democracy. Now more than ever before, citizens from all walks of the world can share ideas and transfer information. With the revolution of online politics combine with the classic real world political involvement, I look for democracy to continue to grow in the upcoming years.