Politics In Cyber Space: The Effects Of Cyber Campaigning sample essay
At the turn of the 21st century, the Internet has placed the world into a massive breakthrough by use of computer-generated communication, as observed by social science experts. In addition, the Internet has also become the central source of information all through out the world. This has drastically affected the global culture- on people’s attitudes, perspectives, and preferences.
In this light, the Internet has drastically affected the political scenario within countries across the world, to the extent that politicians have used the Internet in their political activities. On the other hand, people’s attitudes and preferences towards politically-related matters—preferred candidates, political way of thinking, etc. — have been influenced by cyber media. However, the accessibility to cyber technology has also negatively affected the political arena across the world.
This paper will discuss these effects. Leading to the conclusion, as this paper will discuss, is the capability of cyberspace to absorb the manipulative and controllable stream of communication as divergent and convergent for the dealings of man towards his role in society.
What is cyberspace?
The cyberspace may be defined as virtual domain that consists of virtual life and virtual society. The virtual dimension of cyberspace counterbalances the factual activities, appearance and circumstance of life and society. The only material form that exists in cyberspace is the physical manipulation of computer-generated data reinvented by man.
What does cyberspace predispose?
The question on what does cyberspace predispose are needs, interests and benefits. To which, cyberspace becomes the interactive convergence for private and public disposition. It may be defined as a labyrinth to the flow of information and communication.
Using the information technology through the telephone, specifically mobile phones and through the Internet, world-wide communication has become convenient. The digital feature in telephone and Internet communication has gone far from the cable networking of the analog telephony. The satellite signals are transmitted through cyberspace with accuracy, limited by boundaries of time and space. Hence, cyberspace predisposes interaction and reaction of the physical existence of man in a society.
What does cyberspace bring to the society?
The so-called virtual world exist a virtual society through intelligent manipulation of man. In which, the virtual society manifest the physical appearance of effects from various material response of people to information. The information as absorbed by the physical world will be processed through intellectual configuration, interpretation and comparison to factual and real-time resemblance. The processed information returns to the cyberspace as Internet and digital communication system is utilized for information sharing and communication.
The cobweb of process as absorbed by the physical world is a continuing cycle within cyberspace. For example, the information that tells the winning potential of a political candidate may get the edge as far as popularity is concerned and the added advantage of earning public support.
Measuring the Cyber Power
The measure that people and society has achieved is by quantifiable utilization of the Internet through information sharing and communication. The effects are the impacts towards the socio-economic-political structure of society.
It influences the physical traits, behaviors, likings and inclination of people. For example, Internet communication through the online messaging system brings the user-to-user a distanced discussion and conclusion. In this case, physical knowledge is motivated.
Cyber power may involve various components and uses. The need, interest and benefits are among the parameters that bring relevance to achieve such. This means that people and society are the major stakeholders of such parameters according to conditions and circumstances.
Evolution on the uses of Internet
Aside from the practical use of Internet in tallying votes to aid retrieval of election results, the use of online voting have been the most recent innovation which governments, specifically the United States, has been using . However, for third world countries, online voting is still in the process.
The trend brought about by cyber politics indicates a new trend in elections. This is most evident in some western countries wherein their elections depend largely upon the Internet. This has brought about a great increase of the younger voting population- or those who use the Internet more frequently against older members of the population who likewise depend on secondary information from the former.
Unfortunately, as observed in cyber discussion rooms, participants were focused more on the personal lives of the candidates rather than the political platform. This attitude of voters may be tracked down from the intriguing aspect of electoral proceeding wherein candidates are known based on their social background.
Candidates now spend a part of their campaign funds for Internet campaigning. Political campaigning has veered towards Internet and mobile phone utilization.
Within Asia, the Philippines is among the third world countries known to have adverse electoral exercises. The voting population is influenced by the Internet; the proximity of effect to the voting population is tremendous as the cyber information is revealed by the broadcast and television media.
Meanwhile, in other developing countries, political candidates rely on two-fold campaign strategies by using cyber campaigns and physical organizing and mobilization of supporters. In cyber campaign strategy, using the Internet for posting their profiles and platform of governance is the usual approach. The additional variation to cyber campaign strategy is featured with a questionnaire and FAQ’s (frequently asked questions) for the voters.
With regard to the electoral experience in Asia, a study discloses that the interactive campaign might result a non-beneficial situation to a party and candidates because of the cost in cyber campaigning (Djupsund, G. And Carlson, T., 2001).
In other aspects of cyber campaigns relative to other governmental functions, the facilitation of immigration has found the Internet as the most useful procedure. The online application configures the capacity of work and manning of immigrants. It likewise systematizes the institutional facilities and space that may be occupied by massive influx of physical applicants.
The enactment of laws is now also influenced by the Internet. Again, dissemination of information is being channeled to the Internet for public opinion and online ratification. Although this process is a minimal venue for third world economies that still rely to the traditional media outfit of television, broadcast and journal.
The potential risks in cyber politics
Having democratic process is having political system that permits the citizens to partake in the electoral processes and knowing the pros and cons of candidates as well as its political agenda, personal beliefs and more so the personality. The election period is like a season wherein the citizens enjoy much the freedom to ventilate the issues concerning the candidates.
Acquiring the knowledge and information from the candidates and the political party, the Internet is one of the available sources of the electorates. Over the years, the numbers of political Web sites has dramatically increased to reach the young voters that are the regular user of Internet. In the US, George Bush and Dick Cheney have their georgewbush.com as their maintained Web site.
There are Web sites from both opposition and civil society groups that are created to demonstrate political parody and criticism. This kind of Web sites however does not represent essential purposes but to delight the online public. Hence, it bears negative effect to the candidate because the information might mislead some facts and therefore decreases popularity.
Another Web site was also independently created to implicitly express political opposition—to ridicule the candidate’s political stance and private life. To mention, the gwbush.com is a copy cat of the official Web site of President Bush purposely created for political demolition and scandal.
In contrast, other Web sites have been created to support the political campaign of candidates. But nearly majority of the Web sites are inclined to be further deceiving than the Web sites with political parodies since more exaggerated showcase covered the true personality of the candidate.
. In effect, these kinds of Web site pose a potential risk that may lead to public confusion and harm the democratic processes bestowed upon to the electorates.
The US Experience in cyber campaigning
The cyber power is an expression broadly engaged to the world mainly by scholars who have been fascinated to the extent of analyzing the capacity of using the Internet in political activities. Computer hardware including all types of software comprises the new form of media, is the main tool used in 21st century political fund raising, recruitment of volunteers and organizing political activities.
The 2004 Democratic Party nomination of Howard Dean as Presidential slate has greatly used the Internet and brought about relevance to several American political parties. This event has proven that cyber campaigning is a reality.
A medical practitioner by profession, Howard Dean emerged his political career from the 1982 Congressional election and won as a Congressman of Vermont. After two terms of office as a Congressman, Howard Dean run for Vice-Governor and was elected.
Subsequently, the death of the incumbent Governor has installed Dean for the gubernatorial seat and served the term of office from 1991 to 2002. He flourished on his political popularity being tagged as fiscal conservative to proportioning the budgetary appropriations of the state. He was also known as a leading advocate for ecological preservation and advancing the rights of the third sex (Open Secrets, 2006).
In 2003, the Dean supporters utilized the Internet for making up more of Dean’s popularity. The websites MeetUp.com and MoveOn.org were created for internet circulation of his political platform as well selective articles/political views. The websites has greatly encouraged the voters to participate in the forums; commonly known as Internet blogs, where Dean himself was an active blogger—posting articles and views in the Internet website. The internet blogging has drawn voter’s participation that led to the organizing of “Dean Defense Forces” (Gibson, R.K., 2004).
The MoveOn.org has able to organize two million members that donated money for advertisements opposing the Bush administration and massively engaged in telephone and petition campaigns (Wolf, G., 2004).
In addition to highlight the cyber campaigning of Howard Dean for the 2004 US Presidential race, the last quarter of 2003 has earned approximately 500,000 followers and raised a fund of about $7.4 million via Internet solicitations alone (Cone, E., 2003). However, re-electionist George W. Bush won the election being the lone candidate of his party and has $200 million election funds.
It may have been said by political scientists that cyber politics, like in the cyber campaigning of Howard Dean, could have gained the voters who are relying much on the Internet. But somehow, the print, television and broadcast media are more crucial instruments to consistently promote the politician.
Cyber campaign and approaches
The limited campaign funds and machinery of candidates and its political party have efficiently resorted to adopt ways and means of reaching out their potential voters. Likewise, independent candidates are indulging the same approaches. These approaches are a combination of using the available technology and the traditional ones. The perspective of cyber campaigning is enjoined with the traditional approaches to catching the votes, as follows:
§ Telephone Messaging
o The 2004 Australian federal election massively used electronic phone messaging that bombarded phone calls to 17, 500 voters with pre-recorded campaign messages authorized by the divisional office of Canberra Liberals (Onselen P.V., and Errington W., 2004).
§ Internet use
A post election study in Australia cited that 49.3% of voters rely on the Internet to search for information relevant to political issues, but only 10% reported looking for information on the election updates (Bean, C., Gow, D. and McAllister, I. 2001).
o Campaigning through the Internet shows that it is an electioneering tool that is less needing investment on money and people (Gibson, R., 2004).
Internet is an efficient communication channel with lesser cost affordable by independent candidate and minority party that are sometime being isolated by the print and television media groups. And also able to distribute uncensored information to the voters.
Electronic mail (e-mail) is also useful to immediately distribute the information to targeted voters and campaign activities to organizers/supporters.
Media reports claimed that the major parties spent more than ever on mass-media advertising and direct mail.
Direct mailing Direct mailing is still the traditional approach to reach the marginalized voters in which the unavailability, inaccessibility and incapability of Internet knowledge are the main barrier.
Some Significant Findings
What is more significant is the primary purpose of politicians to utilize the Internet as a trendy political wardrobe—a packaging that may fit in to the taste of the voting populace in the cyber age. In which cyber campaigning through the Internet is added to the political machinery that offers a one-stop-shop convenience for the voters to check on a particular candidate and for the candidate to feature the entire information essential to enhance the popularity.
A study conducted, by the “Bivings Group” (2006), on the 2006 US election has claimed progressive increase of political candidates from 55% in 2002 to 97% in 2006. Mostly, the website owners are political personalities prospecting the Senatorial seat.
It can be assessed from the study that although with the progressive increase of the politicians in using the Internet, the availing of the websites are limited only to posting their profiles and fund solicitations. Following are data cited from the study (Bivings Group, 2006):
23% engages in blogging (posting of articles/personal views);
15% uses Spanish language transcription;
5% maintain multi-media;
In-between 90% and 93% has complete biographies.
Cyber campaigning does not only represent the US but evolved in different parts of the world. Roh Moo-hyun successfully won the 2002 Presidential election in South Korea by disseminating email in the Internet and created a political fan club website called “Nasomo” that included mobile phone networking (Thompson, N., 2003).
In the Philippines, the toppling down of the Estrada Administration in 2001 that installed Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as successor for presidency was much related to cyber campaigning. Political websites were created by various opposition groups and mobile phone campaigns using the Short Messaging System (text messaging) have massively encouraged people’s assembly that brought about an approximately one million Filipinos rallied at EDSA and known as the People Power II (Thompson, N., 2003). Likewise, the 2006 presidential re-election of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo have used the internet and mobile phones network for campaigning.
In related finding, it was found that political parties in other European and Asian countries with parliamentary system of government are the common users of Internet websites for campaigning in which the popularity of the candidate is inherent to the political party’s capability to endorse and make the winning potentials of its candidate (Danyi, E., and Galacz, A., 2005).
The significance of Internet on the claim as becoming appropriate, necessary and being adopted as a new age technology of the politicians may be interpreted as follows:
Accessing the Internet would avoid media scrutiny that may be more intriguing, inexpressive and expensive.
The use of Internet in political endorsement of candidates would always gain a win-win position to assert, deal with and assimilate in the democratic point of view of public Internet users through blogging.
A wide array of multi-media tools in the Internet websites offers a preferential option for the candidate to use.
The chat rooms can be created anytime for a particular topic of discussions wherein the candidate can assess the pulse rate of winning potentials; chance for soliciting public opinion to enhance political platform and strategies.
Web designing is much cost-efficient and benefiting than the TV, broadcast and print media.
Website maintenance efficiently innovate various promotional coverage, advertisement and designs.
The website can be accessed through mobile phones of mostly young voters.
The Website is lasting and continuously useful to maintain the politician’s campaign cycle.
The Internet is affordable by both minority and majority parties.
However, some considerations are being laid down in cyber campaigning on the economic status of the country. Unlike the European Union and the US, the developing countries in Asia, Africa and the Middle East retains the barrier in cyber campaigning.
Obviously the main reason behind the barrier is the incapability of the majority of voters to avail individual acquisition of computers, Internet access and the knowledge itself to using computer. In this regard, the mobile phones are the limited source of Internet-generated information as also depending on the mobile phone models.
Another consideration is the voter attitude towards an interest to access the Internet websites of politicians. In this case, the traditional approaches of politicians to earning popularity are still complemented with their personal appearances in TV and radio programs as well as print media coverage.
It may be positively stated that cyber campaigning then evolves within powerful countries that has capable and responsive voting population. Notably, the Japanese politicians were the first to access cyber campaigning in 1995 and initially adopted by the US at the 1996 campaigning in the Web political advertisements and publicity (Frisk, A., 1999).
The cyberspace is a formidable domain where virtual and physical worlds meet. The realities happen between time and space, as continuing exploits to science and technology converge. This conclusion addresses the manifestation of decadent culture to the overflowing commercialization of technology as the third world societies are vulnerable to the interest of the few. The clamor of the third world countries to the fervor of globalization has turned the tides of cyber power and uncontrolled political agenda as the economy is plundered from behind of the cyber politics.
The politics in cyberspace is the new age technology known to the interaction of man in his society, as politicians invest his wealth. Known to many that cyber campaigning is an expensive framework to win a candidacy; the effect is much crucial when politician amassed the vote as well as recuperate the election expense from the coffer of national economy. The manipulation in cyber campaigning that is carried out in the political race is perceived as enduring at the term of office.
In other perspectives of politics in cyberspace, the cyber campaigning in aspects of fostering goodwill, economic cooperation, cultural exchange and political-diplomatic relationship among nations for human security are essential attributes.
Assessing the pessimistic and constructive conclusion, politics in cyberspace retains a multi-faceted democratic power of people, in which the human intellect represents.
The global proliferation of the Internet must be complemented with and requires critical understanding. The critical understanding in the use of Internet, most especially in the third world economies, must surface at the required and immediate need of people. This understanding must be focused at improving the economic resources of a country and the values of people.
Likewise, the global proliferation of the Internet may be used as an instrument for constant disparity based on the social, economic and political condition of people and country. Although the fundamental concern is to enhance the delivery of basic services to the indigent, a conflicting outcome may possibly transpire the gap of selectiveness, cultural homogeneity of culture, and fracture of societal unity and customary understanding. Thus, this might be a basic social issue that be given significance in the social perspective.
A synergy of initiatives between governmental and non-governmental organizations should be created as a means of expanding the social awareness of the public users that may promote sustainable development education approaches for better understanding, consciousness and responsibility in the use of Internet. In effect, a more responsive and participative people shall impart in the empowerment of governance and socio-economic-political stability.
*Bean, C., Gow, D. and McAllister, I. (2002). “Australian Election Study 2001”. Australian So cial Science Data Archive. Retrieved January 28, 2008 from http://assda.anu.edu.au/codebooks/aes2001/title.html.
*Bhattacharya, C., (2006). “Virtual Campaigns, Concrete Elections: Why the Internet and Related Technologies are Shaping Election Campaigns in Advanced Democracies”. Canadian Political Science Association. Retrieved January 27, 2008 from http://www.cpsa-acsp.ca/papers-2006/Bhattacharya.pdf.
*The Bivings Group (2006). “The Internet’s Role in Political Campaigns”. The Bivings Re port. Retrieved January 28, 2008 from http://www.bivingsreport.com/campaign/2006_campaign_study.pdf.
*Ciolek, T.M. (2003). “The Internet and its users: The physical dimensions of Cyberpolitics in Eastern Asia”. The Australian National University Journal. Retrieved January 24, 2008 from http://www.ciolek.com/PAPERS/oregon-2003-text.html.
**Cone, E. (2003). “The Marketing of a President”. Baseline. Retrieved January 28, 2008 from http://www.baselinemag.com/c/a/Projects-Management/The-Marketing-of-a- Presid ent/.
*Cronin, A.K., (2006). “Cyber-Mobilization: A New Levée en Masse”. Retrieved January 27, 2008 from http://ccw.politics.ox.ac.uk/publications/cronin_parameters.pdf.
**Danyi, E. and Galacz, A. (2005). “Internet and elections: Changing Political Strategies and Citizens Tactics in Hungary”. Retrieved January 28, 2008 from http://iospress. meta press.com/app/home/contribution.asp?referrer=parent&backto=issue, 6,9;journal, 6,14;linkingpublicationresults,1:300389,1.
**Djupsund, G. And Carlson, T. (2001).”Catching the Wired Voter: Theoretical Considera tions and an Empirical Analysis”. Department of Social Sciences, Abo Akademi Uni versity, Voragatan 9, FIN-65100 Vasa, Finland. Retrieved January 26, 2008 from http://www.google.com.ph/search?q=Catching+the+Wired+Voter%3A+Theoretical +Considera tions+and+an+Empirical +Analysis&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=com.ubuntu:en-US:official&client=firefox-a.
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*Gibson, R. and McAllister, I. (2005). “Does Cyber Campaigning Win Votes?” Retrieved January 25, 2008 from http://repositories.cdlib.org/cgi/viewcontent.cgi? article=1064&context=csd.
*Gibson, R.K. (2004). “Web Campaigning from a Global Perspective”. Informa World. Retrieved January 28, 2008 from http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~content=a713613433~db=all.
**Onselen P.V., and Errington W., (2004). “Brace yourself for the rise of the permanent election campaign”. Retrieved January 28, 2008 from Online Opinion, Australia’s e- journal of social and political debate. http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp? art icle=2367.
**Open Secrets (2006). “Presidential Candidate Howard Dean”. Open Secrets. Retrieved January 29, 2008 from http://www.opensecrets.org/presidential/summary.asp? ID=N00025663.
**Thompson, N. (2003). “The Internet and Political Campaigns”. The Globalist. Retrieved January 28, 2008 from http://www.theglobalist.com/DBWeb/StoryId.aspx? StoryId=3249.
**Wolf, G. (2004). “How the Internet Reinvented Howard Dean”. Wired. Retrieved January 28, 2008 from http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/12.01/dean.html.
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