New media is playing a much larger role in governance, perhaps because a large section of citizens are able to have access it and rely on it moreso than old media. That is not to say that old media is completely ignored; it is just becoming dominated by new media and sometimes has to work with new media in order to remain relevant and useful. Media itself is a key player in the life of a politician, but as Bob Ellis (‘Sleepless in Canberra, 2010) states, the stress of the 24 hour news cycle can have potentially damaging effects on the decision making process.
Government 2.0 and Transparency: At this point in time, I don’t think governments are very transparent, but I think they are in the process of becoming more so. The ideas put forward by Catherine Styles (2009) are a good starting; by showing ‘us government functions as a whole and [enabling] us to explore the component parts’ is a foundation block. It may allow governments to keep a sense of superiority whilst at the same time, citizens will have more access to information.
In my opinion, the recent protests and government changes in the Middle East were not the result of social media, but simply the catalyst. When you provide a form of communication to like minded people, they will take full advantage of it. I’m sure this is what the Tea Party wants to happen but I have my doubts. The concept of decentralization is very fascinating though, with success stories such as Napster, Wikipedia and Craigslist behind it. But using it ‘offline’ hasn’t really been proven so whether or not the Tea Party succeeds is still a mystery. Certainly the amount of press attention they receive helps them but whether they are able to make a real change in governance is up in the air.
Ellis, B. (2010) ‘Sleepless in Canberra’ <http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/35116.html>
Styles, C. (2009) ‘A government 2.0 idea- first, make all the functions visible’ <http://catherinestyles.com/2009/06/28/a-government-2-0-idea/>