Social Media & (non)Deliberative Democracy

Dana (not Daniel) Radcliffe, posted a meditation on social media and deliberative democracy over at the Huffington Post last month that remains timely:

In short, with regard to political discussion, current use of social media favors affinity over engagement, expression over debate, silence over disagreement, dogmatism over compromise, and – toward opponents – disdain over respect. This, I believe, is largely why we have so far been unable to move beyond the use of social media as political weapons to make them instruments of deliberative democracy.

This is a great reminder that deliberation and genuine engagement do not come naturally: they require hard work. Advances in communications technology can help facilitate processes, but they can’t generate the will to engage our fellow citizens in the work of building communities. That’s up to “we the people.”

Read Radcliffe’s reflections at the Huffington Post here, and a blog post on the same theme from a few years ago here.

Contributor: Benjamin Peterson, Pepperdine School of Public Policy, MPP 16

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