With the general increase in internet use, the potential for digital political information and political participation and structuring options via the internet increases.
The online medium opens up new potential for participation, as the user – in contrast to newspapers or television – does not have to remain solely in his role as a recipient of the information offer, but rather actively help shape the media offer and use the Internet and its services as a platform for political activity.
The new opportunities for participation and design become particularly clear with the expanded perception and use of the Internet, which are referred to with the catchphrase Web 2.0 and increasingly with the term social media.
The Internet or the World Wide Web is not only becoming a platform for the supply of many hypertext linked sites, mostly institutional providers, but is increasingly becoming an application environment for communication, interaction.
Internet use is changing to active design
In which own multimedia content is generated, networked with other users and published on portals. The range and quality of these activities exceed the possibilities of an individual, which can be seen in the importance of prominent social media platforms such as the online encyclopedia Wikipedia, the social network Facebook or the short message service Twitter.
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Overall, with the technological advancement of the Internet, one can potentially speak of the upgrading of the audience compared to conventional media. In any case, the creation and dissemination of content by simple users (weblogs, audio / video files, citizen journalism offers) indicates a change in the political and media area, as competition for established media players is growing.
With the Internet, citizens can easily access a quantitative and qualitative range of political information. This is offset by a lack of time resources and political disinterest on the part of the users, as well as the information overload and uncertainty about the credibility of the political online offer associated with the expansion of the offer.
In the case of special political events, the importance of online information increases. Due to the free distribution of information, the speed of online communication and the high degree of networking, spectacular news can be disseminated online at lightning speed and take effect.
Recently made increasing use of entries in social networks or Twitter short messages to report on political events in real time and without going through journalists, although the news content is often limited.
The offer of political information includes efforts by parliaments and → administrations – especially at local level – to make political work in committees, decision-making and results transparent online and to give the population the chance to participate. In view of the general political user behavior outlined, it can be doubted whether this will increase interest in local politics.
Online communication represents the next level of political activation after information. This refers to citizens who not only read political blogs, but also regularly write articles, chat with their MPs or want to be regularly informed about the ideas and activities of their constituency MPs.
Even if not every politician answers and only a few citizens (the portal reports 400,000 monthly visitors) take part, these portals open up the opportunity for a new transparency of parliamentary work, for direct contact between elected and voters and for a virtual memory of the Voting behavior of parliamentarians.