Voice of the Internet

If there is one thing this class has made apparent, it is the proliferation of technology into all facets of life. With that, politics is no different. The internet is quickly becoming the source of information for the curious. In the study cited this is quite apparent even in the small sample size collected following the 2008 US presidential election. Just in the four years between the 2004 and 2008 elections there was a doubling in usage of the internet as a source of information for politics.

In this presentation there is a review of the findings and discussion of how the internet will likely/hopefully/potentially/etc morph the way politics is conducted (just as it has morphed the way we shop, socialize, etc). The study tackled such questions as to what media is used, how they are used, and who even uses which forms of communication. Prudently, the authors even noted how content creation seemed to moving somewhat from the entrenched outlets. In the upcoming 2012 elections it will interesting to see how much further the internet has shifted the way politics goes down.


GARRETT, R., & DANZIGER, J. N. (2011). The Internet Electorate. Communications of the ACM, 54(3), 117-123. doi:10.1145/1897852.1897881


About Sean M.

Information Technology enthusiast. Believes in the potential of the Information Age, and that it just needs to be done right. With that, is a proponent of both Microsoft and the open source communities as solutions to get the job done. Professionally, served as IT for US Navy where a love of networking and business technology was gained. Student of Applied Mathematics with focus Discrete Math and Algorithms at the University of Washington.

Posted on August 8, 2011, in Discussion Leader. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Fascinating presentation: I particularly enjoyed when you brought up the examples of citizen interaction with politics. The AmericanSelect website seemed particularly intriguing with its concept of placing a president representing one faction with a vice-president representing the opposite side. I think it’s a great idea in theory, but would it really work out in real life? We see so many issues arising within our own Congress simply due to to the political divisions within. It took them a long time to decide what to do with the U.S. deficit and essentially their decision pushed any real action to be taken to 2014. If we moved such an environment to the executive branch with the president/vice-president, what sort of problems might arise there? I agree, it would be wonderful if the result was improved flexibility and interaction between factions, but I fear for the potential detrimental effects at the same time.

  2. I didn’t participate in your discussion but your topic seems very interesting. I mostly receive political knowledge from the internet. Reading news from the website and researching about the candidates through internet has helped me a lot to know about the candidnates and politic. I’m not huge fan about the political knowledge since there were many disappoinments from the politic I experienced. However, I mostly express my opinions and thoughts through the interenet such as blogs, and facebook. The interaction that goes on the internet between people stimulates me to involve in the discussion. I think the internet is good way to approach the political knowledge but it makes me sad that traditional way is fading away as we face the future. The internet is still developing every second in the world so I definately believe that there will be new approach to face the 2012 election.

  3. Sean, I knew your PP would be good and you didn’t disappoint. I like how you really made apparent the facts surrounding political findings with the resources that supply the information. For such a staggering percentage rise in how many people find information online, it’s not surprising. We have continuously learned the snowball effect that the computer has had on the public. So it will be quite interesting to see what the 2012 stats will be. The one thing that did stand out as surprising was when someone became engrossed in online information, it decreased their voting rates. I wonder if there’s almost too much information making any kind of decision difficult. It seems to fit the theme that too much of anything makes people numb, which is sad in this case.

  4. I can’t necessarily say that I am surprised to hear how rapidly the usage of Internet with politics rose between 2004 and 2008. I think that because there is so much information available online, especially such recent news stories, many people have turned to it for their main source of information. The 2012 statistics will more than likely be tremendously higher than even 2008 was, mostly because the availability and usage of Internet has dramatically risen and , what I’m assuming, is still increasing.

  5. I too am not surprised that in recent years following the 2008 campaign, the use of technology has been frequently used and consulted in the process. What surprised me from your presentation however, was the 2008 medium usage statistic for newspaper wast 75% ! Because many aspects of journalism and print are now converting to online, I was surprised to see such a high number. Also, in regards to the “two-step-flow”, I think this has really allowed the public to feel heard and connected to their politicians. Creating forums, blogs, and other outlets really provides both users a communication we were never able to participate in print, television and sometimes radio. Good job on your presentation! Really made me think about how I want to use different mediums to educate myself about the candidates!

  6. You brought up a valid point in medium usage in regards to politics. I feel that in 2012, the online news usage will skyrocket from 64% in 2008 to around 90% because a lot of news today is viewed online. Today’s generation is heavily focused on online news compared to the previous years where television and newspaper were the main news sources. Also, one thing about going online when the topic is politics are the debates between supporters. Politics is big online and will get even bigger in the future.

  7. Very well-organized presentation, I think the statistic of how much viral politics jumped in a span of four years (which was four years ago now). We’re always going to try to find the most efficient way of carrying something out, and when it relates to spreading information I don’t think it has to be said that can be done best digitally. I also was unaware of the amount of power the traditional outlets have retained, it seems like all of the open sourcing and channels of mutual communication would be a more popular medium of communicating. I would not doubt it if these numbers are very influenced by the older generation, which tends to be more active politically and most likely uses older informational outlets.

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