Democracy and technology

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Democracy and technology

Post by JokerJamie on Thu Jan 07, 2010 7:28 pm

This is a subject that I have been studying, and have quite a large interest in. The democratic process is changing as a result of new technologies. Its an obvious statement when we look at the Obama campaign wherein he famously 'won over' the internet. He became widely respected, but was it the right way to gain support? Is Obama more of a celebrity than a president because of his approachable manner? Basically, we all know that the democratic process is changing, but is it better for it?

I know that I would feel a lot more comfortable and involved watching campaign videos on Youtube than reading leaflets dumped in my letterbox...

But more importantly, what next? There is definitely potential for further enhancements, right? Is it possible that we might see this somehow link into the videogame industry that we all have so much respect for?

I'd like to get some of your thoughts on this...I was planning on doing a survey for my fellow students to fill out, but this is more fun. I am really interested in the future of the process. Democracy seems to have caught up with the latest trends, but I really want to look at things such as videogames etc. as a means of campaigning to the youth, forcing us into participation and involvement. Could it work?

Please express any opinions you have on this!

Thanks guys.
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Re: Democracy and technology

Post by Raine on Thu Jan 07, 2010 8:25 pm

UK and American politics seems to work very differently. As my housemate and I once discussed, the trend is that Americans vote for someone they want to win, someone they believe in, whereas the British vote against someone they don't like in a perpetual 'lesser of two evils' scenario.

British politics doesn't play well with the internet. Whether it be the unmitigated boredom of Gordon Brown's Youtube channel (to be "down with da yoof") or David 'Call me Dave' Cameron's ill-fated video diary of him being an ordinary man in an upmarket house, they just come across as people from a bygone generation trying to cling on to something they don't understand in order to try to appeal to a generation statistically known to be generally uninterested in politics. It's all seen as something of an embarrassing gimmick really.

While the internet is indeed a great way of communicating information, getting the chief whip to start a Twitter on policy and what he had for breakfast and putting what Brown has on his iPod onto a Myspace article is just going to be seen as pandering spin.

Obama was always going to be an internet phenomenon. The internet's favourite target was George Bush so as soon as the race for the White House included a combo-breaking black guy and a brain dead pitbull with lipstick it was bound to explode but the American political system has more publicity, a sense of conviction behind it and is seen as far more important to the average person that British politics where nobody gives a damn unless they're complaining about something that angers them like duck houses.
I think I may have watched too much of The West Wing here...
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Re: Democracy and technology

Post by gdf on Thu Jan 07, 2010 11:05 pm

The nature of the two systems is entirely different. I prefer ours so much, for all its flaws. Since I began studying American politics I've been astounded at how ill-defined it is. The world's greatest power is run virtually nothing, with each participant in the game interpreting each law or institution as they like. It's fucking chaotic. Americans themselves are also arguably more fickle than the British. We have roughly 10-15% of floating voters that decide the outcome of each election, and though Americans are more likely to change vote, it's usually for no good reason. They're suspicious of everything, are more easily swayed by the media and will change their votes without any real consideration. Remember as well that FPTP necessitates a consideration of local micro-management as well as the meta-struggle for power - ours is a party contest far more than an individual one, and though the American one isn't meant to be that way based on the constitution, it absolutely is.

There's nothing I hate more than floating voters.

Also, like Raine, I think the internet needs the right kind of candidate to get behind. Some stuffy old dude or out of touch tosser like Cameron is going to fall flat with the web.

Also, democracy is so overrated.
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Re: Democracy and technology

Post by Dont Look Angry on Thu Jan 07, 2010 11:19 pm

Robert Mugabe knows how to run a country
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Re: Democracy and technology

Post by JokerJamie on Fri Jan 08, 2010 1:06 am

An interesting comparison, one that I never really thought of actually. I completely agree on both raine and gdf's outlook on the candidate. As a politician, Obama is as cool as they come. Even the likes of Sarah Palin were essentially destroyed by the net. A YouTube search of Palin's name will probably turn up about 70% piss take videos. Palin is a nesting ground for gags, popular for the wrong reasons. And of course the Internet was the root of most of this. But what about 4 years down the line, where could Obama turn to gain more publicity? Crossing the Internet off, through what other means could a cool American candidate gain support?
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Re: Democracy and technology

Post by gdf on Fri Jan 08, 2010 12:28 pm

By delivering on everything they'd promised.

Which is obviously impossible.

Alternatively, he could just keep being a cool black guy, swat mo' flies etc.
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