In “Measuring the Success of Digital Campaigns,” Dave Karpf argues, “anyone with an Internet connection has a platform for getting the word out” (p. 151). Yet, he puts forth the question of whether this new form of connecting enhances the success of political activism. Karpf examines this inquiry by examining tactical and strategic measurements – the former refers to the number of actions that individuals have taken in relation to a campaign, while the latter refers directly to success. He makes an important note, wherein the effectiveness of digital activism is highly dependent on the type of tools employed and the locations in which they are applied. For instance, Karpf points out that the successfulness of the tactics utilized by those in the United Kingdom cannot be compared to the successfulness of the tactics utilized by those in Saudi Arabia.
Karpf’s arguments are highly applicable to those made by Tom Glaisyer in “Political Factors: Digital Activism in Closed and Open Societies.” Glaisyer explains that Chinese officials capitalize on activists’ tools and, simultaneously, train counter-activists to defend Chinese state interests. In contrast, in the United States and the United Kingdom, there seems to be more of an emphasis on transparency. This enables citizens in the US and the UK to hold their governments accountable via sites, such as Data Masher and TheyWorkForYou.com. As Glaisyer expounds, there are stark differences between how the Internet is used in open and closed governments. In open governments, the Internet has enabled citizens to wield greater power, while in closed governments, the Internet has enabled governments to censure its citizens with greater ease.
Question: Can citizens living in closed government societies utilize the Internet “successfully”? If so, how would this be possible?