e-book Blogging the Political: Politics and Participation in a Networked Society

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Below are studies that bring a scholarly, data-driven perspective to questions within this area of inquiry. It is possible that more of the 0. This trend can be spotted in the rise of large-scale, rapidly forming political participation aimed at a variety of targets, ranging from parties and candidates, to corporations, brands, and transnational organizations. Nearly four in ten users discovered through postings by friends that their political beliefs were different than they thought.

A small percentage of users blocked, unfriended or [hid] someone on the site because their postings were too frequent or they disagreed with them.

Effects of the Internet on politics: Research roundup

Three-quarters of social networking site users say their friends post at least some content related to politics on the sites from time to time. We find individual differences: Some people are diversity-seeking while others are challenge-averse. For challenge-averse readers, highlighting appears to make satisfaction with sets of mostly agreeable items more extreme, but does not increase satisfaction overall, and sorting agreeable content first appears to decrease satisfaction rather than increasing it.

Using a combination of network clustering algorithms and manually annotated data we demonstrate that the network of political retweets exhibits a highly segregated partisan structure, with extremely limited connectivity between left- and right-leaning users.

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Surprisingly, this is not the case for the user-to-user mention network, which is dominated by a single politically heterogeneous cluster of users in which ideologically opposed individuals interact at a much higher rate compared to the network of retweets. We find evidence of greater partisan filtering for the latter three Web sources, and relatively greater reliance on traditional newsworthiness criteria for the news wires.

We find that ideological segregation of online news consumption is low in absolute terms, higher than the segregation of most offline news consumption and significantly lower than the segregation of face-to-face interactions with neighbors, co-workers or family members. We find no evidence that the Internet is becoming more segregated over time. Few read blogs on both the left and right of the ideological spectrum. Furthermore, those who read leftwing blogs and those who read rightwing blogs are ideologically far apart.

Blog readers are more polarized than either non-blog-readers or consumers of various television news programs, and roughly as polarized as U. Blog readers also participate more in politics than non-blog readers. Readers of blogs of different ideological dispositions do not participate less than those who read only blogs of one ideological disposition. Similarly, studies have shown positive implications of social media and mobile phone usage on sociopolitical dynamics in Indonesia [ 10 ]. Therefore, this article aims to fill this gap in literature. The article firstly articulates the objectives of this study.

Secondly, it briefly reviews past studies into the use of new media technologies in relation to political and election campaign and public participation in democratic process and political discourse. Thirdly, the article explains the theoretical framework and methodology of the study. And finally, it discusses findings and conclusion of the study.

New media has been conceptualized differently by media and communications scholars. For some, new media have emerged from the modern information and communication technologies.

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On the other hand, many scholars agree that new media indicate the transforming patterns of media production, distribution and use. Therefore, it combines three elements:. Figure 1 below illustrates the key defining elements of new media.

Likewise, Lister et al. Despite the distinct features of new media, the author believes that the new media technologies still serve a complimentary role to the traditional media.


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The use of new media in election campaigns is not a recent trend; however, its significance has increased steadily over time. These are just a few past examples of election campaigns in the United States.

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Today, in many Western countries and especially in the United States, no electoral candidate and political party can enter an election process without having an online presence, and scholars do agree with an expected growth in the use of new media tools in politics and election campaigns [ 21 ]. For example, some previous Western studies into the use of new media in political campaigns underline that internet and online media have improved the visibility and accessibility of political information and election campaigns.

And it has emerged as a source of political engagement, knowledge and interaction for public at a very low cost. Now the public has online space for gaining political knowledge, participating in opinion polls, discussing politics through blogging, tweeting and expressing their opinions across a range of social media networks [ 22 - 25 ].

Moreover, the positive impact of new media technologies on politics and public participation has recognized in many non- Western contexts as well. For example, Aday et al. They view that new media platforms such as Twitter, Face Book, YouTube and Blogs have played a crucial role in political conflicts especially in the Middle East — where traditional media is heavily restricted and internet and other social media have provided a new and comparatively freer space to public for raising their voice.

And thus, social media has actually empowered the masses [ 9 ]. Their study suggests that new media is serving as a fast and a successful tool for information dissemination, public participation in political process and an online public sphere has created in Indonesia, which has helped in strengthening the democratic structure of the Indonesian society. Nevertheless, the challenge is to further broaden this sphere into civic political participation [ 10 ]. Hence, the Pakistani public has more options to get political information and participate in the political process and discourse.

Kugelman [ 11 ] suggest that the Pakistani public use social media in five ways:. This implies that internet and other new media do have an impact in the domain of politics by introducing easy and new ways of public networking with political parties and to coordinate an event, make donations and to get information. Hence, this study addresses this topic. The theory of public participation emphasizes a process through which citizen can raise voice for their basic rights i. The theory conceptualizes citizens as a fundamental part of political discourse and democratic and decision-making processes through their active involvement and participation [ 27 - 29 ].

Bryson et al. Above all the core objective of public participation is to buttress democratic culture within the society.

The Future of Adolescents’ Right to Vote and Political Participation

Renn et al. Some authors view that public participation can aid in an equitable distribution of limited public resources, which is very important to be considered in contexts like Pakistan — where there are no enough natural and economic resources to full fill the needs of growing population and to solve heaps of socioeconomic and environmental problems [ 32 , 33 ].

Other studies underline that public participation can help to create resources for future problem-solving and to address new issues by increasing trust and legitimacy, developing relationships and creating knowledge and interest about policy issues and processes [ 34 , 35 ]. There are many studies that unpack the potential role of traditional media i.

Now people do participate in political debates that are particularly facilitated by television news channels. Figure 2 below illustrates the theoretical framework of this study. To investigate the above-mentioned research questions, the study uses the quantitative method of survey and the qualitative method of in-depth interviews. Using simple random sampling 3 , the study incorporates a total of male and female survey respondents, belonging to Muslim and non-Muslim religions in ratio of 80 and 20 percents respectively , of age ranging between 22 and 65 years, and who hold at least a bachelor degree in any discipline.

Fifteen survey respondents have been selected randomly from five districts of Karachi and twentyfive survey respondents have been chosen from Karachi Central, which is the largest district of the city 4. The bilingual i. The survey has been conducted during the time period of election campaign in Karachi i. In addition, the study also includes eight interviews of the local members belonging to the major political parties of the country, namely:. The study uses relative frequency statistics to present the survey data and thematic analysis 8 to analyze the qualitative data.

The survey result shows a substantial use of mobile phone for election campaign and intercommunity networking purposes only.


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Figure 3 and Table 1 , below, explains the survey result for research question one of this study. For instance, a male journalist, from local television news channel, states:. Most newspapers and television news channels are running their news websites and people mostly prefer online news now. What is noticeable during this election campaign is that people are not only relying on editorials and TV talk shows for opinion building, but rather they are much engaged in social media debates about who would lead whom?

Or who would solve the issues of Karachi? Or who would change the future of Pakistan? Face Book, Blogs and Twitter have become platforms of judgment and self-expression both…. I call it social media trial of not only corrupt politicians but also of political parties, which claim to bring revolutionary changes in Pakistan.

Interviewee number 6. New media is generating the new ways for politics. However, those programs were not enough to facilitate civic participation in the politics… New media has made its space in the Pakistani politics by providing people diverse sources of information and by involving them in political dialogue… Let me tell you that a few years ago it was very difficult for the Pakistani society to involve in politics. But now, a majority of people, especially in Karachi, use it for political purposes, and it is much convenient for them to take part in political discussions.

Interviewee number 2. In the age of technology, the word new media is not new for the Pakistani society. There are around over 50 Face Book political pages that are followed or liked by up to 30 million people. These statistics indicate the considerable involvement of the Pakistani people in politics.