E-democracy and social media: a gap between expectations and reality?

Ireland, Morys (2010) E-democracy and social media: a gap between expectations and reality? BSc dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    Abstract

    Ever since its potential began to be discussed commentators such as Rheingold (1995) have expected the internet to revolutionise the political process. Yet twenty years after the notion of e-democracy first emerged, it would appear that the online world has had but a limited impact on existing political systems. In an age where many voters are becoming disenchanted with politics, can technologies such as social networks reinvigorate e-democracy, encourage greater political participation and transfigure communication between citizens and their representatives? This project examines the impact of social networks on e-democracy through a combination of primary research and an extensive literature review; in addition to investigating the role the internet will play in the 2010 UK General Election. The primary research undertaken includes a study involving 44 Members of Parliament, a survey of over 50 students and interviews conducted with individuals at the forefront of e-democracy including Matthew Taylor, former Chief Advisor to Tony Blair, and Alberto Nardelli, co-founder of the website Tweetminster.co.uk. Given the significance of the Obama campaign in the US it might have been expected that the internet would be a decisive factor in the 2010 UK election, yet the findings of this report suggest that the part played by the internet will be largely unchanged when compared to the previous election of 2005. Instead, it is argued that the true potential of e-democracy lies in giving citizens a greater role between elections. However the report finds that social media, used effectively, does have the potential to greatly improve the political process and increase political participation.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Technology > School of Computing
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2011 12:48
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 11:15
    URI: http://eprints.port.ac.uk/id/eprint/829

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