Since the internet was embraced as a mode of communication in the virtual world at the start of the digital era, it has proved to be of great benefit. There have been concerns especially on the negative influences it has had on some people, especially children and the young all over the world. Even with this criticisms and concerns the internet’s advantages undoubtedly outweigh its disadvantages. It owes its popularity to several factors, key among them is its ability to distribute and convey information in a very fast manner. There is no other mode of communication today that is as fast as the internet. Because of its interconnectivity the internet serves as a gigantic library, a message board, a medium of publishing and a telephone network (Barry, 2009).
There are many reasons why the internet has grown to be a better news source than the conventional media. One of the reasons is the fact that media companies are majorly owned and run by a few, large corporations that put their interests first in any developing story. Their reporting and analysis of events around the world or in a country is therefore likely to be skewed to suit those interests. The few who got to learn about this tendency stopped being dedicated fans of a specific Television station, radio or a particular print media (Rushkoff, 2006).
The internet has become a better option because it presents the reader with a variety of news sources hence leaving the user with enough information that can enable him to make judgments for himself as compared to the limitations that come with the other news sources. In some cases the internet gives witness accounts in certain events or happenings complete with video coverage posted directly without much editing from the website managers. This makes the big difference between the traditional forms of media and the internet (Gibson, 2003).
Due to the demand for news coverage and advertisements the print media for instance limits the debt of its news coverage in an effort to create space for the much paid advertisements. Internet news is therefore discussed from a variety of angles and viewpoints. It is not constrained by time or space limits. Internet readers have the opportunity to share their thoughts on a subject as freely as they can. This gives other readers an expanded view of the whole issue being discussed. Some of the print media companies are already acknowledging the stiff completion they are receiving from the internet. The Science Monitor, an American Publication, recently announced it has stopped printing and will be only accessed online. This is an indicator of the trend that is likely to be witnessed soon, especially in countries that have good connectivity to high speed internet. In one of its latest surveys Pew Internet also points to the same reality that the print media will in the near future be taken over by internet news sources. Other print media, for instance the Minneapolis Star Tribune, have already filed for bankruptcy and retrenched some of its staff as a result of declining income mainly because of internet usage by most readers and advertisers (Graeme, 2001).
Internet reliability has been doubted for many reasons, one of which being the fact that anyone can post a personal views of anything. However internet users argue that the diverse news sources on the internet are helpful because many blogs on the internet cannot take similar points of view and be labeled as false. In addition, there are many social networks on the internet too that can serve as sources of news. The diversity of news sources thus makes the internet a more reliable source of news and information (Seught, 2011).
During campaign times therefore both voters and candidates find it important to utilize the internet. Voters will be searching information that will help them makes wise decisions when voting. The candidates on the other hand will be keen to sell their ideologies to the electorate through the same media because of the many reasons earlier mentioned. The ability to get immediate feedback on what readers think about some of his policies and thoughts makes the internet the best tool for candidates during campaigns. It also means the candidates have to be open minded enough to accept an almost immediate positive or negative criticism that comes with internet interactions (Seught, 2011).
Diverse political parties help their candidates run websites through which many of the issues being handled are documented. The Parties and specifically campaign teams can sample advises and pick out some of the useful hints on the best methodologies to adopt while campaigning. This, in so many ways, has changed political scenes and campaigns throughout the world. Unlike the commentaries in televisions, print media and radio, which mainly discuss information and policies, the political websites give a broader picture of what the party or candidate is interested in and still gives a reader or viewer a chance to ask questions without limitation on any subjects that they thing needs clarifications (Kamarck, 2008). The polling data that several companies post on the internet gives users the chance to get sample out and find the truth on the political situation and possibilities in different parts of the country. Ultimately the voters and candidates will be empowered to make decisions and defend their policies and ideologies respectively. By doing so the internet and other media, in their unique ways, will have given citizens of a country the chance to decide their destiny and how they want to be led, therefore directly impacting on their livelihoods (Chadwick, 2009).
Is the World Wide Web a dependable source for knowledge, facts, news or just an interconnected computer network of lies? Tell us what you think in the comment box below.
Barry, H. (2009).Digital Democ39(7):166–172.
Graeme, B. (2001), Electronic Democracy: Using the Internet to Transform American Politics, 29(14)11-18.
Kamarck, D. (2008). Political Campaigning on the Internet, Massachusetts: Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press.
Rushkoff, D. (2006). The Promise and Peril of Internet Democracy, New York: Pantheon Publishers.
Seught, M (2011). Political Debate Forum: Politics and Candidate issues Retrieved July 4, 2012 http://www.wisegeek.com/where-can-i-find-information-about-political-candidates. Racy: Discourse and Decision making in the Information Age. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Chadwick, A. (2009). “Interaction between States and Citizens in the Age of the Internet: An International Journal of Policy, Administration and Institutions, 16(2): 271–300.
Gibson, S. J. (2003). “The Internet and Political Campaigning: The NewMedium Comes of Age.