The Internet in politics

// Posted by on 04/04/2013 (8:14 PM)

Gabriela Lozano Garza


The Internet in politics

The decentralized network of networks, commonly known as the Internet, has revolutionized the political arena in many states such as Mexico and the United States. It has enabled a new type of political activism allowing citizens with access to participate through the sharing of information.  This type of activism has multiple localities that are digitally interconnected at a local, regional, national, or global scale. Even though political frontiers exist, the Internet allows a fast and direct interstate circulation of information, which facilitates a movement’s organization. It is important to consider that technology itself cannot produce outcomes. It takes great human effort to spread ideas and guide a movement towards the aspired course.

As stated above, the Internet has given means by which citizens can be aware and get involved in the politics of their country. People who weren’t politically aware due to a lack of information can now obtain information instantly, and share it as easily as they got it.  A clear example is the Occupy Wall Street movement in the U.S., and the Yo Soy 132 movement in Mexico. Both were initiated by a small group of people, and used the Internet to spread the word, inform, organize and strategize the movement. It is clear that the Yo Soy 132 was somewhat inspired in the U.S. Occupy Wall Street movement; nevertheless I believe that it wasn’t intentional because it was the logical thing to do. The organization and spreading of the movement through the Internet was the cheapest, fastest, and easiest way to strategize a reaction and disapproval against Mexico’s actual president Enrique Peña Nieto.

Occupy Wall Street movement is evidently an example of how online activism can turn, not only local issues into global issues, but global issues into local ones. The Internet substituted traditional media by which information circulated, creating a non-filtered information stream. In my opinion, the Yo Soy 132 movement in Mexico didn’t have much success as Occupy Wall Street because there’s a small percentage of the Mexican population that has Internet access; therefore, traditional media in Mexico today has a greater impact and extent than non-traditional media such as the Internet.

Both the Occupy Wall Street movement, as well as the Yo Soy 132 movement, are initial indicators that the Internet and other telecommunications have opened a new type of activism via media resources. What we must ask ourselves is how will global media change citizenship and its influence in politics in the short-term future.


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Patrick said...

I agree that movements such as Occupy and Yo Soy are indicators that the Internet has opened a new type of activism. I believe that the Internet is a space that people can speak their opinions freely and truly be heard. In years to come I believe that newspapers and radio stations will become obsolete due to the Internet. While this is very exciting it also brings the potential for online “slactivisim”. I am afraid that online slactivism instead of true activism will take over the Internet for the worse. Although I do not have an answer to the question you ask at the end of your post I believe that it will be answered over time as the Internet continues to expand.

// 04/08/2013 at 5:38 pm

Tec de Monterrey said...

It seems that we both share the belief that movements such as Occupy Wall Street and the Yo Soy 132 are products of this new activism through telecommunications such as the Internet. I believe that this kind of activism is most probably subject to evolution, since it’s the first wave of Internet activism. Both Occupy Wall Street and Yo Soy 132 movements show revolutionary features, which is why government authorities reacted slowly towards the development of events.

It is crucial to understand that Internet activism has more impact in urban establishments, because that’s where Internet users are located. The Internet serves as a powerful instrument thanks to its anarchical faculty. This means that it provides a space in which users, more specifically activists, can receive, transmit, and share information. You say that newspapers and radio stations will one day become obsolete due to newer modernized technologies; I have to disagree with that statement. I don’t believe that newspapers will become obsolete because they’ve already built their news distribution online. Many newspapers have already upgraded and have their own website. Their function is vital in a society and there’s a constant demand for news. In my opinion, what will actually become obsolete is the way in which the newspaper distributes the information to the society. I believe that’s what you’re trying to say: that the physical distribution of newspapers to every house will become obsolete, and not the newspapers as companies. If that’s not what you meant, then I too happen to disagree. I do believe that one day, in the distant future, newspapers and radio stations will probably end up becoming obsolete, but not in a short-term. If they do become obsolete as you say, it will have to depend on the place that you’re referring to. What I’m trying to say is that maybe in a developed country, specifically in an urban and developed city, the newspapers and radio stations might turn obsolete since the society has other means of communication such as the Internet, and there will be no need for the delivery of newspapers to every house. On the other hand, if we look at a more rural area, it is very improbable that this will happen, since not every citizen has access to the Internet. Therefore, conventional ways of distributing information such as newspapers and ratio stations will remain.

I agree that slacktivism will occur, and I think that it’s something that is currently happening. Hopefully this will ultimately lead people to be aware and learn that not everything that’s on the Internet is true. There’s an overflow of information and this sometimes makes it hard for users to get to useful and legitimate information.

// 04/09/2013 at 10:32 pm