Political Blogging

Tamara A. Small at Canadian Political Science Review:

Like many components of the Internet, blogs are seen as potentially enhancing democracy. This is because the Internet “is seen to possess what may broadly be termed “democratic” potentials untraceable in the traditional media” (Bentivegna 2002, 54). Interactivity is especially relevant to discussions of the interconnection between the Internet and democracy. Unlike the traditional media, information moves in many directions. Each receiver is also a potential sender and vice versa. In the world of politics, this means that where public officials speak and citizens listen (or read) in the traditional media, on the Internet potentially both public officials and citizens can speak and listen. Political information can move topdown, bottomup and horizontally. However, within the literature the debate over how the Internet will change democratic politics is “extensive and controversial” (Larson and Paystrup, 2005, 176). To radical cyberoptimists this means that the Internet can be used as a tool for plebiscitary democracy. Citizens can use the Internet to initiate, deliberate, and vote on policy options or for public officials. For less radical optimists, the Internet is a tool to rejuvenate practices of representative democracy. In cyberspace, citizens and politicians have easy access to one another. To some, blogs play a key role in this revitalization process. Klein and Burstein (2005), for instance, suggest “bloggers are transforming the political process itself – and more important, the ordinary citizen’s relationship to it – in ways that seem likely to lead to a more representative and participatory . . . democracy” (5). Cyberskeptics question the deterministic view of digital democracy presented by optimists. Internet politics, they argue, will be “politics as usual.”

 

Tamara A. Small, “Blogging the Hill: Garth Turner and the Canadian Parliamentary Blogosphere” [pdf]

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