Today, many events are planned and operated through the Internet. The Internet has provided an easy way for millions of people to come together and organize to fight for a common belief. Last week’s articles offered a more pessimistic approach of the Internet, specifically censorship in the media and filtering of websites that skew your perception of what you are seeing. However, I noticed that Glaiseyer and Karpf presented a positive view of the power of the Internet to rally people for a cause. Both authors present ways in which people have used the Internet for political means.
First, Glaisyer discusses the power of digital activism in the government. I thought that the introduction quote captures the true power of the Internet, where six people can come together and “all of the organization of the Internet. On the street came out 15,000 ”. I think that Glaisyer effectively demonstrates the great power that comes from communicating via Internet. I found his section “Digital Activim in Government” to be very interesting, as it presented a new view of digital activism. Whereas Karpf discusses the public’s use of the Internet, this section analyzes how the government has employed methods of digital activism to its advantage. For example, GovLoop was created as a type of Facebook for the government, where officials could get to know each other beyond the work environment. Glaisyer mentions that now bureaucrats can collaborate and organize in a way that the public does.
Karpf’s Measuring the Success of Digital Campaigns discusses these public efforts of collaboration and organization. One of the instances in which Karpf exemplifies the public’s ability to organize on the Internet is in a reaction to an online video segment, “Mouthpiece Theater.” In one episode, viewers thought that inappropriate remarks were made about Hillary Clinton. Because many digital activists were disturbed by this comment, they were able to come together and organize a “twitterbomb” to flood the segment. Karpf recognizes how, in this case, thousands of people were able to use their Twitter accounts to remove a video that offended their views. Without the Internet as a means of connecting all of these people, this would not have been possible.
My question for the class is based on the readings from this week and last week, do you agree with Karpf’s and Glaisyer’s more optimistic approach of the Internet or with last week’s authors’ pessimistic view?