Political dialogue goes digital: The Pro & Cons

Digitization and the social web have produced completely new forms of communication and information – political dialogue has advantages and disadvantages as a result. Internet users generate content themselves and disseminate opinions and information. With the unlimited possibility for everyone to reach a huge audience, the importance of the selection and gatekeeper function of journalistic media decreases at the same time.

Social media communication

Pro

Every internet user can use social media to engage in journalistic activity as a layperson and thus also disseminate political information, opinions, and comments – without barriers – to the internet community. Social media, online forums, and blogs are particularly widespread.

Cons

Not only democratic users benefit from the low hurdles. Politically radical and undemocratic content and viewpoints can also be easily disseminated on the Internet. From the elimination of journalistic gatekeeping, disseminators of hatred, agitation, and inhuman statements also benefit in particular.

This is mainly aided by the fact that such opinions and statements can be disseminated anonymously on the Internet. Compulsory registrations of participants in political forums could help to increase the seriousness, at least in such discussion forums.

 

Direct contact with politicians and institutions

Pro

Closer to the voter – professional politicians can use digital media to bypass journalistic communication and direct communication offers to their target groups themselves. You can use it to put your own topics on the agenda, clarify your positions, and show closeness and willingness to talk through discussions.

Cons

If top politicians connect directly with voters via social media, this can have negative effects on the parties in particular, as their importance as membership organizations is diminishing. In particular, the middle level of functionaries is affected by this, the importance of which is particularly affected when the top executives are directly reachable to every citizen.

 

Limitless variety of information

Pro

Political information is easier than ever today. They are available in a seemingly endless quantity and also for every conceivable topic. Even the smallest niche topic is taken into account in online communication. This can go hand in hand with the fact that digitization is driving the social tendency towards ever greater individualization.

Cons

Due to the variety of topics and the use of free, non-journalistic sources, there is a risk of trivialization and a reduction in the quality of the information.

The biggest problem is therefore not a lack of information, but the selection of reputable sources. Reliable sources of information are more important to democracy than a large amount of click here information.

It also becomes difficult when the information jungle attracts greater attention to the topics that are shared or “liked” particularly frequently.

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