Democracy Online

Politics and social media have always had a certain chemistry. With the Trump Administration, the two have officially tied the knot. Though social media is par for the course in politics, no president has used social media, particularly Twitter, to speak so directly, and so very personally, to his constituency. With Trump, these conversations are almost always one-sided, but even so, the new president is skipping the middleman (aka the White House Press Secretary) and opting for a more direct approach. Isn’t this good for democracy?

Few will argue that social media has created a venue for the electorate to talk to each other about politics. Most everyone will argue over whether this is actually good for democracy. A more informed pool of voters is surely better, but whether or not social media is actually informing people is another debate. And many are now pointing to social media more as an echo chamber than a digital town hall. In short, a conversation requires at least two voices, and many users, including our illustrious president, have a tendency to rant and leave.

The Instant Town Hall feature available through Raise The Money is an attempt to cool things down and give donors, candidates and constituencies a place to voice their opinions directly. The goal with the Instant Town Hall is an actual dialogue, a two-way conversation between campaigns and their supporters. Candidates get a real-time view of their constituents’ concerns, and donors get an opportunity to share their views with the candidate. Though it may not be direct democracy, the Instant Town Hall is where the rants end and movements begin.

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