Today, we live in a world that is more interconnected than ever before. The invention of the internet, cellphones, and computers have almost made everyone and everything within the reach of our fingertips. With the evolution of communications technology, methods of political participation and civic engagement have also changed to adapt to this advance made by mankind. Before, our choice was limited to holding demonstrations, going out to the streets, and protesting in order for our voices to be heard. Consequently, we had no choice but to resort to lobbying and writing letters to politicians for our concerns to be known. In the present time, communication among people has been made easier with the aid of technology. Cellphones and computers are used as a medium to send information, no matter how far, in an instant. These technological advancements have made it easier to send a message to family and friends, create new links in a social network, and express one’s opinion about anything under the sun.
With the growing popularity of the internet and social media websites, people have utilized these as new channels to express their thoughts on different political issues. Formally, social media is defined by Merriam-Webster as “forms of electronic communication through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content”. Through these actions done online like signing petitions, sharing news links, joining groups, and commenting about contemporary issues, people have taken civic engagement off the streets and on to social media.
Unlike in the time of the Greeks, where people need to gather in the agora to talk about political and societal issues; now, one only needs a gadget and internet access to take part in discussions even though the participants are from different parts of the country or even the world. Specifically, it is social media that has increased the capability of different actors – activists, citizens, non-governmental institutions, media - to connect and relate with each other in terms of the various political issues that is present in our society. It has provided the platform where a new agora in the modern era can be established. Truly, social media has made it easier for citizens to share information among themselves and has lowered the cost of participating in society.
Statement of the Problem
The accessability to participation that the internet brings was initially thought to enhance and increase political participation. Unfortunately, social media isn’t as helpful as it was initially thought out to be. Some scholars have stated that ‘slacktivism’ or political activities done through the internet have no political or social impact whatsoever. Slacktivism only serves the purpose of making these supposed ‘activists’ feel good about themselves. It makes slacktivists think that they are significantly contributing to a cause that they believe in by doing nothing more than joining a...