Home > Uncategorized > Blog 9; Politics on the Internet vs. Politics in Real Life

Blog 9; Politics on the Internet vs. Politics in Real Life

Ever since the revolts in Tunisia began journalists have been hailing  social networking as the backbone of the uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East. Personally, I think that is a bunch of malarky. Yes, I do believe that Facebook and Twitter do deserve a lot of credit in helping to spread and continue the revolutions, but without people in the streets demonstrating and fighting political movements are nothing. In my opinion politics and the internet can be a double-edged sword, bringing the good and the bad.

One great thing the internet does is bring people together. As seen through the Al-Jazeera Effect, the internet gives people normally without voices a forum for the world to hear what they have to say. This is great for politics because it allows people to find their political niche and to talk to people with similar views. It also allows for people to form ties that may someday lead to political movements. Social networking sites such as Facebook allow people to donate money to causes and raise awareness about causes people may not know exist. We all saw the power of the internet in the Obama Campaign.  However, being politically active on the internet is not the same thing as being politically active in the real world.

If a Facebook friend messaged me and asked me if I would like to participate in a rally where the police would likely turn the fire hoses on the crowd, I would respectfully decline. However if a close and personal friend asked me to join him or her in a dangerous march for a cause I believed in, I may consider it a bit more. That’s because I feel that the internet is a great place to talk about things and perhaps raise money, but that is the extent of its influence. Without people participating in the streets all of the talk on the internet is empty. It’s easy to sit behind your computer and badmouth a regime or president but it’s another to become active in a movement and that’s where I feel many people draw the line.

As for whether democracy is good for democracy? Once again I feel it has good things and bad things. The internet is good for democracy because it allows people to connect to others with similar views and it allows for people to raise money for candidates and causes. It also allows people to obtain news they may not be able to get through more traditional news media. This can be a bad thing however because people may be drawn to only getting news that fits their worldview, increasing partisanship and thus hurting democracy. In the end I think it is too early to tell how the internet will impact politics and democracy.

  1. April 14, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    Nice post. Concise and good active voice.

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