Article

Cyberpolitics

Philip Howard

in Communication

ISBN: 9780199756841
Published online February 2011 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780199756841-0049
Cyberpolitics

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Cyberpolitics is a domain of inquiry into the role of new information technologies in contemporary political life. It is an exciting domain of inquiry because not all of the things that communication scholars learned by studying mass media systems and interpersonal communication hold up in digital media environments. Studying cyberpolitics usually means one of two things. It can mean investigating the ways in which political actors use new technologies in creative—and sometimes problematic—ways. Some voters use digital media to improve their knowledge of public affairs, others use the same media to limit the flow of news and information. The Internet allows some journalists to do more research and track down more sources, but such digital media has had a significant impact on the organization of the newsroom and the features of the news market. Politicians and candidates for elected office use the Internet to reach out to new voters, but they also use it for data mining and manipulating public opinion. But studying cyberpolitics can also mean investigating the less overt political machinations that go into setting telecommunications standards and making decisions about how to engineer information infrastructure. Allocating the public spectrum, setting privacy standards into law, building universal broadband access, or deciding which information packets may be more important than others are technical issues with significant implications for political life.

Article.  6755 words. 

Subjects: Communication Studies

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