In the first two installments discussing the role of the media in politics we covered the MSM and then talk radio. This post deals with the cutting edge of the internet.
In many ways the Internet is still in its' wild west days. For the most part it is unregulated and notorious for passing along hoax information as well as the real deal. And, as a trusted source it vies with Fox news as a non talk radio alternative.
But the internet is so vast that we cannot possibly cover it all in one blog post. So, we are going to focus on the interactivity of it and how that might have an effect on the political process.
The most obvious starting point would be the candidate or politicians official websites. I remember when the internet was new and dial up was the norm. Politicians had to be contacted by snail mail because the web presence was essentially a listing of headlines, a photo, and contact data that wasn't yet digital.
Now a politicians site is fully interactive with polls, issue areas, newsletters, email contact information, real world contact information, and often a list of instructions for services like appointments to a service academy.
The next thing is blogs just like what you are reading now. Blogs range from small and humble all the way to huge things with multiple posters.
Then there are message and chat boards. No matter what affiliation you have there will be a message or chat board catering to it. Again, some are small and some are huge.
A word on interactivity; There is no free speech. The owner of the site sets the rules and can allow or disallow your postings or comments. So if you post greatness and the site bans you... oh well there are others abounding. Heck, you can even start your own.
We'll tie it all together tomorrow.