Essay on Digital Politics

Published: 2021/11/09
Number of words: 2199


Politics is a field that is fast changing due to the adoption of digital media in almost all operations. The use of digital media to always address political issues is not something new in the current global world. Politicians and political parties are using technology to their advantage in a bid to drive their agenda and mobilize people. Society needs to understand the role of technology in the transformation of politics globally. Politics has been transforming from year to year, depending on the approach that is used to gain popularity. As such, the paper seeks to examine to what extent it is true that technology has transformed the face of politics. A close examination of the traditional technology applied before and the digital technology emerging is necessary for a better understanding. For instance, many people have managed to push their political agendas through the application of digital media. Technology is a discovery that has helped change many sectors of the economy positively. Digital media may include the use of platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, among others (Garner, 2012). The paper seeks to highlight how digital media has changed the face of politics in many nations.


Digital media has given citizens an approach that can help them get involved directly with political matters. The mainstream media have failed in their mandate to power neglected and minority groups within the community, which makes citizens yawn for a better way to communicate. Politics is a notion that revolves around power, and social mobilization and application of technology have transformed its face completely (Garner, 2012). The role of the research is to prove that, indeed, technology has improved political activities all over the world. Citizens have a chance to contribute to the running of their nation through digital media and other means. Technology can be applied in politics, including political party systems and campaign initiatives.

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The first notable improvement is that digital media in politics has improved communication within the arena. It is through proper communication that politicians can be able to convince the general public to vote for them. Poor communication strategies can see a politician fail to clinch an important seat. As such, digital media facilitates faster communication and even instant feedback on matters that matter to the public. Traditionally, communication in the political arena was done through less improved platforms. On the emergence of the, communication has been enhanced since it can be done remotely (Farrell, 2012). For instance, Facebook has over 1 billion users who belong to some political affiliations in the world. As such, communicating on social media platforms can help deliver information fast enough than it could have in the traditional era. An example of a politician who uses social media as the central strategy to make his intentions clear is the United States president, Donald Trump. He is a populist who uses online platforms, especially twitter, to sell his agenda and make official communication. An advantage that can be notable is that such communication is instant and directly to the voter. As such, digital media has proved instrumental in transforming the nature of politics globally.

Second, digital media has supported online campaigns, which can only be made possible by the help of advanced technology. Traditional approaches to campaigns have proved inefficient in helping most politicians and activists as compared to the application of online platforms (Shirky, 2008). Technology is a force that will transform every sector of the economy as it has managed with politics. The use of social media has promoted online campaigns that are based on surveillance and censorship. As already noted, Facebook, as an online platform, has over 1 billion users, which implies its ability to help politicians run campaigns. Most people can be able to access social media at least once in a day, making it necessary to run political campaigns online. To a larger extent, such platforms make a difference when compared to the conventional means of running campaigns. A recent regulation on twitter that will affect political operations is the ban of political campaigns on the platform. Twitter CEO recently announced that political campaign ads would not be running on twitter as a new directive. There is an expected change in the way political institutions are going to use such platforms. Political campaigns can be run on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and other platforms that are relevant depending on the political motive. As such, digital media has helped the political arena run cheap but meaningful campaigns.

Citizens can respond to political issues instantly through the help of digital media. For instance, the increased use of the internet has boosted the use of social media platforms for different reasons (Pariser, 2012). Citizens can respond to what their leaders say on media through the comments section. Leaders who have applied proper digital strategies in their political careers are likely to make it. Instant feedback is vital for the electorate as it makes them feel included in the leadership strategy. Globalization has led to increased literacy levels, which have necessitated many to use digital means in their operations daily. An individual can sit in the house and respond to political issues remotely. The online platform provides many an opportunity to exchange without having to struggle as compared in the recent past (Shirky, 2008). Currently, citizens can engage their leaders on media platforms directly, especially on twitter. The platform is more direct when communicating, explaining why it is a preference to leaders such as John Donald Trump. It is crucial to consider the fact that digital media have facilitated response and communication in the 21st century. To a large extent, digital media has given citizens a chance to air their views, unlike in the conventional society.

Fourth, digital media has boosted citizen participation in the formulation of policies that control various aspects. Digital platforms allow many hold discussions and share views regarding specific political issues (Pariser, 2012). For instance, a government or an activist group can run an online campaign that will enable citizens to give their contribution to the implementation of a specific policy. In the process, the government can apply censorship and surveillance to monitor who dissents on particular policies. Digital politics requires the use of recent technological advancements to push political agendas through. Through a server, a citizen can log into their social media platforms and take part in material discussions. Quality leadership requires one to incorporate inclusivity when making critical decisions. The fact that one can access the internet remotely and engage others proves that digital media has been instrumental in shaping politics in the 21st century. A leader with desirable qualities must incorporate inclusivity in his/her mandate in a bid to deliver the best. Traditional methods in politics could not allow people to make remarks openly and respond (Shirky, 2008). However, the emergence of digital media has boosted politics in the 21st century. Policy-making requires public participation before the implementation of the intended law. For faster responses, individuals within a society should apply digital media, which is fast enough to facilitate communication.

An infrastructure that supports digital media is necessary for any nation with aspirations of doing better globally. Social media platforms can help in carrying out fundraisers as organized by parties or individuals (Dai, 2018). Through media, one can mobilize supporters to donate a share of their money for either campaigning or other projects. Such campaigns are designed through the help of technology in the political arena. ‘Money combs’ are used by politicians to raise large sums of money within a short while, usually 24 hours or less. Through contributions to the fundraising organized online, citizens can participate directly in political matters. People on social media can press their supporters during campaigns to donate funds in the name of controversies that arise during the electioneering period. Examples of leaders who have used money bombs to raise money for campaigns include Obama and Ron Paul. Populist leaders in the world tend to employ digital approaches to facing various political issues of governance. Through contributions that are made to the politicians, citizens can take part directly in the management and drafting of different vital policies (Pariser, 2012). The mainstream media does not have much time for such activities, necessitating the use of social media to drive a particular agenda.

Digital media has introduced censorship in the field of politics, especially on social media. The application of such technology has made it easier to control the content that is posted online for people to access. Censorship is aimed at blocking subversive speech for the common good. Different forms of censorship have been witnessed in history, including banning of films, burning of books, and banning of writings. With digital media, politics has changed since censorship can be done online. For instance, state secrets can be protected through modern means of censorship. Examples include IP blocking, DNS filtering, URL filtering, packet filtering, and network disconnection (Mou, Wu and Atkin, 2016). A case in history that involved suppression is the regime in Egypt, 2011, which advocated for switching off of internet services. The Internet has become instrumental in the politics of the 21st century as aided by high levels of technological changes. The internet is not only a platform for communication but also instrumental to the state as it can be used for repression. Through surveillance and censorship, nations can control various political obligations. As such, the application of technology in politics has helped unleash potentials, which have helped shape the phenomenon. For instance, in the United Kingdom, there is a law in place that prohibits individuals from encouraging violence.

The application of digital media in the political arena has changed party politics to a large extent. Political parties have the privilege of mobilizing support for their ideologies through online platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. As research indicates, there are two lines of development for political parties (Garner, 2012). The first one involves a situation where a new range of political parties that depend on digital media for organization have risen. Second, traditional political parties are integrating digital technology into their external operations. Digital parties utilize technology in their activities and demand for freedom of information, access to downloads, and provision of basic income. On the other hand, traditional parties are utilizing their digital media to run election campaigns. Obama in his campaigns used sophisticated social media ad software, which was instrumental in running his election campaigns online. He used digital media as a strategy while party maintained internal organization. As such, his case shows how digital media has changed the face of politics in the 21st century.

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The emergence of the internet has opened ways for the development of new forms of participation that do not necessarily require an individual’s presence physical. Through technology, people have been able to sign petitions that advocate for particular motions remotely (Weidmann, Benitez-Baleato, Hunziker, Glatz and Dimitropoulos, 2016). Online direct actions are also on the rise as many use social media to ensure that their woes are heard. The internet also complements physical forms of participation by mobilizing masses. The emergence of digital media in politics has led to a heated debate on the role of technology in shaping the discipline. Techno-optimists view technology as an essential factor in promoting all forms of citizen democratic participation. Techno-pessimists presume that technology has created a delusional impression of participation. Such individuals believe that technology cannot help make revolutions within a government.


To sum it up, digital media has played a critical role in transforming politics all over the world. Through digital media, governments can be able to conduct surveillance and run online campaigns for free. Technology has made communication easier through social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. Participation in various initiatives and revolutionary movements has been facilitated since the introduction of digital media. Mainstream media are no longer an interest for many as social media has more users. Public participation in policy-making has been made possible by the help of digital media. Also, nations can protect and block subversive language through the application of technology in politics. Media allows for freedom of expression and mobilization of the society to take part in revolutionary campaigns.


Dai, X., 2018. The digital revolution and governance. Routledge.

Farrell, H., 2012. The consequences of the internet for politics. Annual review of political science15.

Garner, (2012) “Introduction” from Garner, Robert, Introduction to politics pp.1-27, Oxford: Oxford University Press ©

Mou, Y., Wu, K. and Atkin, D., 2016. Understanding the use of circumvention tools to bypass online censorship. New Media & Society18(5), pp.837-856.

Pariser, Eli, (2012) “Chapter 2: The user is the content” from Pariser, Eli, The Filter Bubble: What The Internet Is Hiding From You pp.47-76, London: Penguin ©

Shirky, C., 2008. Here comes everybody: The power of organizing without organizations. Penguin.

Weidmann, N.B., Benitez-Baleato, S., Hunziker, P., Glatz, E. and Dimitropoulos, X., 2016. Digital discrimination: Political bias in Internet service provision across ethnic groups. Science353(6304), pp.1151-1155.

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