Posted by: goalpath | May 28, 2009

Can the Internet and Social Media Resurrect Democracy in America?

Okay, don’t get too excited. I am not suggesting that democracy doesn’t already exist in America. I voted in the last election and I hope you did too. However, we do not have a democratic form of government. The United States is a republic and our duIy elected representatives determine the policy directions in America and make the laws in the country.  All I am saying is that with the internet, we have a better chance for every American’s voice to not only to be heard, but to influence political decision making at local, state and federal levels.

My hope is that more opinion portals and relevant social media sites will be launched in the next few years and provide the platforms necessary to allow most, if not all, of our voices to be heard by the politicians and officials who run this country. There have been a number of politically active sites that have sprouted up in the past few years, but in most cases they have their own special interests, agendas and biases.  Their main objective is to have their single minded viewpoints served up across the web, rather than a providing a public forum for everyone to openly discuss those issues.

And if enough Americans voice their opinions on important issues, maybe they will be able to drown out all of the noise made by the various special interest groups and lobbyists. In order for this to happen,  millions of Americans will have to speak up. I truly believe Americans want their voices to be heard. They just need a platform.

Yes, there are some drawbacks. Not everyone in America has internet access. But the numbers are improving every day.  According to a Nielsen NetRatings report, 3 out of 4 families in America have internet access. The Nielsen report stated that 204.3 million people have internet access. The report was released in 2007, so you can be sure the numbers have increased since then. Those who don’t have internet access include poorest citizens in America. The only way their voices could be heard would be if they were able to access the internet from a public library or other public access location. Internet equality is not there yet.

And I am sure there are plenty of folks out there who regularly access the internet that don’t believe any individual can make much of a difference, so they won’t participate in political polls, forums or discussion groups. But compared to the number of people who actually vote in national elections in this country, even a small percentage of participation by Americans online could become the great equalizer.

The upside is that there are a lot of internet users who will want to get involved and participate.  A lot them already are involved. Whether they are blogging, participating in polls, or just commenting on major news sites, they are offering their opinions and insights. The internet is the ideal platform for this dialogue to take place. When a person openly discusses their views and opinions online, they aren’t judged by their age, race, ethnicity, religion, gender or geographic location. So from that standpoint their voice will be equal to everyone else’s voice in their vote, opinion and viewpoint on any and every issue.

 So, why is this important to me you might ask? My partners and I founded http://www.Boomer-Insight.com, which is an opinion portal targeting Baby Boomers. Our site provides polls, forums and discussions on the most pressing issues facing America. So yes…I do have a vested interest in seeing that internet democracy succeeds. And I would like to make capitalism work for me and my family. But, I would also like to see America return to its position of prominence in the world and regain the respect and admiration we once enjoyed not so long ago. Our reputation is somewhat tarnished.  I am confident Americans want to re-engage and tell our political leaders what they need to hear, not what they want to hear. I believe our site along with other opinion portals can become major catalysts for change in America. We hope to achieve similar results to President Obama’s election campaign organization.

There are a lot people who believe Baby Boomers are responsible for the America’s economic downturn and the sorry state of politics in America. In their younger years, the Boomers fought for racial equality, women’s rights, integration and many other positive social causes. Their voice has grown silent. There are 77 million Boomers out there and I am convinced that their participation in polls, forums and discussions will affect policy making in Washington. If you are happy with the status quo, then don’t get involved. If you aren’t satisfied with the state of our nation, then let your voices be heard through whatever medium is available to you.

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Responses

  1. Yes.


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