Facebook:A Platorm or 21st Century Politics
Winning Hearts and Minds on the WorldWide Web
The world wide web (W3) is a tabularasa – a blank slate upon whichindividuals, groups, cultures and nationsengage. And because the web isavailable to anyone with on-line access, we’ve seenthat this essential communications medium can bea very potent platorm to engage and inuence anincreasingly interconnected public audience.A new widespread shit is underway towardsonline discourse and an increasing demand ordirect communication between leaders and theirpeople; in truth creating a challenge or politicalleaders and policy-makers that seek to shapepublic opinion. These leaders are fnding it moredifcult to promote their public image abroadwith a highly inormed global audience and equallyat home to deal with the Internet as a growingmedium or political activism and dissent.Some countries such as the United States o America, the United Kingdom and Australiahave declared “open government” initiatives topromote transparency and oster more directpolitical representation with their citizenryby applying social networking and Web 2.0technologies to the practice o government. Theinitiative, labeled as Government 2.0 programs,are geared to let people access governmentinormation online and collaborate more openlyin the making o public policy.In many places however, web use is banned orcontrolled at the national level. Certain sites are“o-limits.” This type o government censorshipled to the recent pullout o Google – the world’smost-used search engine – rom China ater China’spolitical leaders began censoring Google searchengine results pages (SERPs). Whether this movewas motivated by Google’s desire to orce Chinato open access to the web, or a step backward orthe Chinese people, remains to be seen. One thingo which we can be sure: governments recognizethe power o the web as a tool or communication,inormation sharing, connectivity with the localpopulace and, sadly, the broadcast o propagandaand containment o political dissent – restrictingWeb access to government-sponsored messagesthat political leaders want constituents to access.The point? This new medium, the Internet andspecifcally the 100’s o millions who are connectedonline through social networks, is defning 21stCentury politics.While this transormation will be elt worldwide, it’simpact will likely potentiate the political landscapein the Middle East and broader Muslim World.With approximately one-quarter o the world’spopulation (23%) adhering to the principles o Islam, and according to our most recent researcha sizeable 225 million Muslims already online, thishuge demographic has yet to ully embrace andleverage the World Wide Web.
Facebook: A Platorm or 21st Century PoliticsWinning Hearts and Minds on the World Wide Web