Both Karpf and Pasek focused on how users can use the internet and the effects that it can have on them and their actions. While I believe the Internet medium has an effect on people, the degree that effect has definitely has more factors to consider. I also question whether the effect is as strong as people make it out to be.
Karpf focuses on the “Macaca Moments” which were moments that camera caught on tape where important political candidates messed up. The two examples he uses are Michelle Bachmann misspeaking and George Allen’s slip up. One would think that since these were uploaded to YouTube and available to the public, these moments would have a significant effect on the candidate and the election. But Karpf comes to find that these moments are not nearly as contributing to the outcomes as people would think which supports the fact that the medium has an effect on people, but there are more factors to consider than just having the content available on the internet for anyone to watch.
Similarly, Pasek discusses political outcomes using evidence on how the Internet is as a way to build social capital. Focusing on social networking sites such as Facebook and Myspace, Pasek wanted to see how the younger generation used these sites to get politically involved and build social capital. I do think that by using Facebook, it is easy to get informed and involved. I know that lots of people make “events” informing all their friends of something happening and where and when to go to attend it. Pasek also included that social capital differences can happen for three reasons: demographics, available features and nature of users. This helps prove that the social networking site itself or the internet site are not completely 100% responsible and that there are other factors.
I feel as though both the authors acted as though the Internet is the only way people hear messages. Yes, the rise of Internet use is making other resources slowly become less popular, but seeing a video of a political candidate messing up is not going to be the only thing the user sees about that candidate. If they read the newspaper, chances are there will be articles about the candidate and if they watch the news, there will be programs dedicated to the candidate. Same with Facebook in that people are relying heavily on those websites and they may contribute to political involvement, but they are not the only factor. As both authors talked about mediums, YouTube and Facebook are only two ways to get information on the Internet so it is not accurate to put so much significant emphasis on those being responsible.
This brings me to my question to the class; How much do you think Facebook and YouTube actually contribute to someone’s political decisions? Do you think that seeing an event on Facebook will make the user more likely to attend it or seeing a YouTube video on someone’s mess up will make them less likely to vote for them? We place so much reliance on these sites but are not sure whether or not they actually affect us as much as we think.