How is the web changing politicians?

As readers of this blog know, we monitor the effects of P2P on Politics on our Wiki, where we have collected a nice collection of quotes, which I recommend for your perusal.

Here is a summary of what the changes mean for politicians, subjectively and in their practice, by Prof. Stephan Coleman:

So, point one: I think that the rules of the political game are changing in three ways. Political representatives are now more visible and reachable than ever before. They are being judged less on the basis of ideology or even policy than personal persona and integrity. And citizens expect to be able to influence them in more ways than very occasional voting. These three changes are forcing smart politicians to adopt new stategies, often utilising new media technologies to manage their visibility, appear human and suggest that citizens can influence them.

Point two: these strategies often don’t work, partly because they are not entirely intended to work. That is to say, politicians are not convinced that they need to take the new rules of the game seriously, even when they realise that there are new rules and they ought to be seen to be doing something.

Point three: citizens are more bewildered than ever. At least the old rules were clear: you voted; you crossed your fingers and hoped for the best; you voted the rotters out if/when you caught them being rotters. Now the rules seem to be different, but are unexplained. What should citizens expect from the new political-communication environment? This is about more than producing codes of conduct – although one or two well-designed codes of digital citizens’ rights wouldn’t be a bad idea. “

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