The world has been watching as the Tunisian regime was toppled and another is threatened in Egypt. These events have been initiated, organized and promoted with heavy use of the Internet. It's been fascinating to watch developments as they unfold.
These events have caused me to think about the influence of the Internet in a wide variety of situations. Voter turn out in democracies has been falling. Is the Internet a facility which could be used to increase voter participation in elections? I'm sure that the technology is present that could set up a valid voter system on the Internet. With higher voter participation the political landscape may fall on it's head. Politicians could use the Internet to their advantage as President Obama did in gaining the Democratic nomination and election to the White House. Voters could rapidly organize campaigns of recall if there were recall laws. Politicians would have to listen very carefully to the public and games played now would not be as effective.
Now citizens are using the Internet to bring down regimes. How long will it be before some strongman- dictator devises some scheme to maintain his grip on power by using the Internet? What will the next generation of social media look like? Face book and all the others are recent developments and their use has expanded enormously. When face Book and other social sites were introduced the use we see to day was unimaginable at that time. How will new technology which is in the pipes influence the use of present media? What new tactics will organizers come up with?
Changes have been unexpected and rapid in Tunisia and Egypt. I'm sure that six months ago these events were not imagined. What other countries will be changed as a result of assistance and use of social media?
I'm sure that I'm not the first person to ask these questions. I'm sure that many are studying the use of technology and what possibilities there are to bring about change in the political world. I just haven't looked for blogs or websites that deal with this topic.