The whole concept of top-down government is very 20th century. The development of the internet as an institution for the global exchange of knowledge represents a permanent change in public policy process. In the past, the mediums for information could be more easily controlled and politicians were only held accountable when they rode back in town during election time. Now the internet is a breeding ground for grassroots movements. Anyone can voice their opinion and access information, so it has become easier than ever to enact change by corralling public opinion behind pressing policy issues. The revolutions in the middle east are a testament to how quickly and powerfully social media can assist in changing the political landscape.
*In one of our class readings, The Truth Will Make You Fret: The News Media, The New Media, and Tax Policy, author Billy Hamilton makes an important point that at times “We are information saturated, but understanding deficient”, so professional journalism still plays a large, complementary role in helping people discern issues.
Nevertheless, The 21st century is well upon us now and we now have the leader of the free world holding Twitter Town Halls. Every bill, politician, and advocacy group has a website, twitter, or a Facebook page. The following links show you an example of the online presence in the debate on whether English should be the official language of the United States.
Reform Immigration for America
The Debate continues on Facebook with pages like this: