Social Networking; the People's Politics
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Social networking gives a public voice to individuals and allows them to engage with society in ways not previously possible. Shirky (2010) argues that a driver for building civic engagement is the group working which is fundamental to social networking technologies and that this is building skills in governance amongst those who actively participate. The ‘wiring of humanity’lets us treat free time as a shared global resource, and lets us design new kinds of participation and sharing that take advantage of that resource. Flexible, cheap,and inclusive media offers opportunities to do new and different things. In a study by the Pew Research Centre those using social networks were more likely to be politically active (Evangelista, 2011). The increase in political engagement is suggested to stem from the fact that active social networkers tend to become more aware of issues from those in their network who are politically active. It acts as a ‘social sharing machine’; increases the visibility of issues and ‘ speeds up that collective action model’. Young active citizens are finding new ways to engage, often through volunteering and especially through networked digital media. Social networks have provided a means of engagement between young people and their communities in a way that previous communications technologies failed to do. This paper builds on the previous work in this field and reviews examples of social networking and active citizenship in the community.
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