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Communication Case - Internet and World Wide Web

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The Internet and World Wide Web are changing the boundaries, functioning and meaning of the political process in contemporary society. In 'what ways' and 'why' is it doing so?

1. Introduction.

Information technology has helped change the political process in societies. It has opened a door that is bringing change to politics in the modern society, which is governed by new media and Information and Communication Technologies like the Internet and the World Wide Web. These technologies are able to provide new or previously rare contexts for information expression in politics. In this essay one will assess of the accuracy of whether the Internet and the World Wide Web are changing the boundaries, functioning and meaning of the political processes, and evaluate of the ways and the reason why these changes are taking place and why these changes are not always beneficial.

2. Definition of key terms.

2.1. Internet and the World Wide Web

"The Internet provides and allows expression and circulation of diverse of views through countless communication channels. It provides a multi- routine interactive medium, making it easy for people to communicate and exchange opinions with others at the same time" (Chung 2008:730). The Internet is both the technical infrastructure of computers and other digital devises. It is an electronic network that links people together through digital devices, such as mobile phones and personal computers. This allows person-person communication and information retrieval.

The World Wide Web combines the audio-visual components of traditional forms of media such as television with the interactivity and speed of telephone and mail. "It facilitates communication flexibility, allowing individuals to choose what information to access and when to access it with the use of web browsers, search engines and hypertext" (Tolbert & McNeal 2003:175).

2.2. Politics and Political society.

Politics is an activity whereby people make, preserve and amend general rules on which they live. It involves a government which takes care of a state's concerns and manages public affairs in conflict resolution.

Political society is a system of politics and government. It is based on the use, abuse and function of power and how other people amend and put politics into use. Furthermore, it is a system that makes collective decisions, running government affairs within a civil government.

3. In what ways is the Internet changing politics?

3.1. Politics.

The Internet has given great access and insight into the day to day activities of political organisations and parties. It is not necessary to write letters anymore to representatives or candidates, e-mails have put an ease on this. In terms of popularity, some online forms of political participation are in competition with traditional forms of media; for example, residents in an area would rather contact public officials over the Internet than by postal mail and telephone due to its levels of unreliability.

"It can be suggested that changes in communication technology may play an important role in influencing electoral behaviour. Traditional models of voter turnout may be under-specified with respect to changes in the media, especially with the use of new information technologies like the world wide web" (Bimber 1999:149). In politics, the Internet is a tool for measuring public opinion, stimulating citizen participation, easing the access to government officials, offering public forums and providing easy voting access.

3.1.1 Voting and Registration poles.

"The media, both traditional and the Internet can help increase voter participation by not just providing citizens with information so as to make decisions, but by stimulating interest in elections" (Tolbert & McNeal 2003:178 ). The World Wide Web allows voter or electors to gain broader information about a candidate. This is an important link between candidates and supporters as online campaigns reinforce messages that are found in traditional media. For example, a snippet of a speech during a campaign aired on television can be posted on the Internet for the benefit of those who might have missed it when it was being presented on air.

Online voting registration poles facilitate communication flexibilities whereby individuals do not have to travel long distances to access registration polls, in the case whereby one is not available in the immediate area. Voting becomes easy despite geography between the electors and voting stations. The Internet removes the time- space differentiation.

3.1.2 Funding.

There is an increase in the use of e-mail, interactive web systems, social networks, party and candidate blogs and text messaging to raise funds for campaigns, assemble rallies, whereby the area used for the event, is for. The money may also be used for television advertising and making of flyers.

For example, United States President Barrack Obama would not have been able to raise millions of dollars for his campaign without the Internet. There was the use of blogs, Facebook, the website (MyBO) and other social networks. Individual donors and supporters during the campaign used videos on YouTube, Facebook, MySpace and blogs to raise funds on his behalf. When Obama's political party realised the extent to which the party was recognised over the Internet, they made their reliability and use of the Internet increase and expand.

3.1.3 Campaigns- Videos, Blogs, Movies and Corruption.

Campaigns are a form of political participation that entail activities like contacting candidates and attending rallies and of signing a petition. During campaigns, the Internet is more effective and less costly than the traditional tools, notably; door step knocking and flyers. Television advertising is still crucial to campaigns, but the adverts are diminishing in influence and persuasion of voters. With the availability of blogs and websites dedicated to politics, politicians and campaigns, individuals prefer to surf the Internet to get more insight than that on television.

In the new political society, campaigners experiment with technologies that allow direct messaging to more specific audiences and through conventional means. Campaigns are found in social networks so at to reach political groups and potential supporters with similar political views or cultural interests.

With the new technologies, candidates



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