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THE INTERNET AND THE AMERICAN POLITICAL SYSTEM

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Date Issued:
2004
Abstract/Description:
The past eight years have seen a great increase in Internet usage in American culture and politics. It would seem that, in our digital age, the Internet has exercised strong effects on political behavior and even on legislators. This thesis explores the variety and intensity of these effects, finding them to be substantial and growing, although not yet robust.The main influences the net has exerted on American politics take place predominantly within two areas: political campaigns and online political interest groups. Activists are certainly using the Internet for political causes, but this sort of Internet usage is really just an extension of previous activism. The Internet does not create new habits; it simply offers a more convenient method of reading the news, communicating to others, or performing other activities we have already been inclined to perform. Even those Internet users who access political web sites are shown preeminently to be those who have otherwise accessed political information in other ways such as newspapers or televised news.So far the Internet has made campaign donations easier for people who are comfortable surfing the World Wide Web. But there is little evidence to show that these people would not have otherwise donated to the campaign by more traditional methods. The Internet has made political activism easier, but people who are not politically active will not suddenly change simply because the Internet offers itself as an expedient, inexpensive tool. We have seen, however, with groups like MoveOn.org, that activists are rallying, communicating, and demonstrating more efficiently than ever before. The political parties or groups that can most effectively use the Internet to mobilize voters and affect public opinion will greatly benefit themselves.
Title: THE INTERNET AND THE AMERICAN POLITICAL SYSTEM.
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Name(s): Gaar, Noah David, 7., Author
, Pollock, Committee Chair
University of Central Florida, Degree Grantor
Type of Resource: text
Date Issued: 2004
Publisher: University of Central Florida
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: The past eight years have seen a great increase in Internet usage in American culture and politics. It would seem that, in our digital age, the Internet has exercised strong effects on political behavior and even on legislators. This thesis explores the variety and intensity of these effects, finding them to be substantial and growing, although not yet robust.The main influences the net has exerted on American politics take place predominantly within two areas: political campaigns and online political interest groups. Activists are certainly using the Internet for political causes, but this sort of Internet usage is really just an extension of previous activism. The Internet does not create new habits; it simply offers a more convenient method of reading the news, communicating to others, or performing other activities we have already been inclined to perform. Even those Internet users who access political web sites are shown preeminently to be those who have otherwise accessed political information in other ways such as newspapers or televised news.So far the Internet has made campaign donations easier for people who are comfortable surfing the World Wide Web. But there is little evidence to show that these people would not have otherwise donated to the campaign by more traditional methods. The Internet has made political activism easier, but people who are not politically active will not suddenly change simply because the Internet offers itself as an expedient, inexpensive tool. We have seen, however, with groups like MoveOn.org, that activists are rallying, communicating, and demonstrating more efficiently than ever before. The political parties or groups that can most effectively use the Internet to mobilize voters and affect public opinion will greatly benefit themselves.
Identifier: CFE0000140 (IID), ucf:46156 (fedora)
Note(s): 2004-08-01
M.A.
College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Political Science
This record was generated from author submitted information.
Subject(s): Internet Politics Online Campaign
Persistent Link to This Record: http://purl.flvc.org/ucf/fd/CFE0000140
Restrictions on Access: public
Host Institution: UCF

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