How do politicians and/or citizens use digital technologies to engage in politics in a post-broadcast democracy?

Wide range of freedom of news reporting and speech, especially citizen’s expression of different opinions and views, is the important guarantee of citizen participation in network politics. For example, government can provide citizens all kinds of websites to participate in (Wilson, 2011). Many topics and issues on those websites are the discussion or doubts on the government policies and some of them are even anti-government viewpoints (Powell, 2011). However, government should not shield, delete or seal up these website. Instead, government can search for ideas and directions of democracy or political revolution consequently (Zhang et al., 2010).


Youth engagement in political network has been the major part of the new era of youth participation in politics. During the past 20 years, there is a significant downward trend of civil and political participation, which is attracting more attention. The declining referendum rate, reducing trust in politicians and fewer interests in public issues have been important evidence of democratic crisis. At the same time, online political participation has been the important way for the political power to consolidate their status and involving youth to support their parties. Many countries have established different network platforms to provide a network platform for the youth to participate in politics (Youniss et al., 2012). For example, in the UK, the Hansard Society is building up the website of Heads Up to connect the youth together with the politics and the youth can discuss different political and democracy problems on the forum (Youniss et al., 2012).

In Switzerland, a newspaper Afftonbladet and the online youth community Lunarstorm have co-founded the website of Ungtval to help the youth to provide their voices especially their concerns on the public agenda (Youniss et al., 2012).

Invited but Ignored. How Aimed to Foster but Failed to Promote Young Engagement

In Turkey, the organisation ARI Hareketi has built up the website Ari to help the Turkish youth to understand the volunteered along with discussion on the religious security issues (Youniss et al., 2012).



During the 2012 US presidential campaign, Obama was emphasising on stimulating and attracting the youth’s participation in politics. Through online campaign publicity and a lot of communication with netizens online, Obama has successfully got a lot of young voters and achieved the final victory (Youniss et al., 2012).


How Obama Won the Social Media Battle in the 2012 Presidential Campaign


In Libya, anti-government organisations are calling for public, releasing information and organising anti-government activities through global social networking websites such as Twitter and Facebook (Youniss et al., 2012).





















Powell, K. A. (2011). Framing Islam: An analysis of US media coverage of terrorism since 9/11. Communication Studies62(1), 90-112.


Wilson, J. (2011). Playing with politics: Political fans and Twitter faking in post-broadcast democracy. Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies17(4), 445-461.


Youniss, J., Bales, S., Christmasp-Best, V., Diversi, M., McLaughlin, M., & Silbereisen, R. (2002). Youth civic engagement in the twenty – first century. Journal of Research on Adolescence12(1), 121-148.


Zhang, W., Johnson, T. J., Seltzer, T., & Bichard, S. L. (2010). The revolution will be networked the influence of social networking sites on political attitudes and behavior. Social Science Computer Review28(1), 75-92.







how are digital technologies affecting (in positive and/or negative ways) users’ privacy?


Privacy, Information Technology, and Digital Media


Jurgensen & Ray (2012)’s article is providing a counter-narrative of both positive and negative ways the digital technologies are affecting users’ privacy. On the one hand, digital technologies enable people to get in touch with a wider world. On the other hand, individual privacy can be hardly protected by digital technologies.

The Internet is a product based on digital technology. Digital will generate data and data will lead to data analysis, data mining, data marketing and the so-called the era of big data (Shin, 2010). People are swimming in the digital world and leaving their marks. Locking an IP (Internet Protocol), which is the mutual contract between networks, it is possible to analyse the search record of the IP for a period of time and description based on the analysis would be nearly the real user (Solove, 2004). People’s trace in the digital world belongs to the category of privacy; however, data marketing is completely built on these traces. Therefore, at the same time when people are enjoying network service which usually is free, they are running the risk of privacy invasion. In summary, in the digital age, the possibility of personal information violation is greatly improved.

There are two boundaries to identify the positive and negative influences of the digital technology on individual privacy. One is that whether people are voluntary to provide personal information and the other is that who the object is that people are voluntarily providing their individual information to (Kapadia et al., 2007). On the one hand, if people are not voluntary to provide their personal information, digital technology is affecting individual privacy negatively (Kapadia et al., 2007). For example, since 2007, Google Map launched the service of Street View (NY Times, 2013). In order to support this characteristic service, Google sent many street collection vehicles and put the real 360 degree photographs on the map (NY Times, 2013). However, when shooting the street photos, there is inevitably some household information being accidently shot (NY Times, 2013). In this case, the street residents are not willing to provide their individual information such as drying underwear. Google has been defined as an invasion of privacy and be condemned by the European countries in 2010 (NY Times, 2013). In 2011, Google has been punished by the French government by a fine of 100,000 euros who considered Google Street seriously violated users’ privacy (NY Times, 2013).


On the other hand, if people’s individual information has been provided to other object, it is also a violation of privacy (Kapadia et al., 2007). Take the credit card application for example, applicant will naturally want to fill out the closely packed tables but they certainly do not want the next door KTV access to this information. If the individual information submitted to the bank has been leaked to the next door KTV, this behaviour belongs to privacy violation.

























Jurgensen, N. & Ray, P. J. (2012) The fan dance: how privacy thrives in an age of hyper-publicity, Scribd, [online] accessed on May 15, 2014,


Kapadia, A., Henderson, T., Fielding, J. J., & Kotz, D. (2007). Virtual walls: Protecting digital privacy in pervasive environments. In Pervasive Computing (pp. 162-179). Springer Berlin Heidelberg.


NY Times (2013) Google Pays Fine over Street View Privacy Breach, [online] accessed on May 15, 2014,


Shin, D. H. (2010). The effects of trust, security and privacy in social networking: A security-based approach to understand the pattern of adoption. Interacting with Computers22(5), 428-438.


Solove, D. J. (2004). The Digital Person: Technology and Privacy in the Information Age (Vol. 1). NYU Press.












Referring to Livingstone (2008), how do people use social networking services to construct their identities, and how do social connections form part of those identities?

Livingstone (2008) focuses on the elaborate identity building of the youth through social networking sites such as MySpace, Facebook, Bebo and Freindster. Through reviewing both opportunities and threats of social networking for youth identity building, Livingstone (2008) argues that social networking sites have both shaped and undermined the online privacy of the youth. Especially those young people cannot have a sense of privacy, they would like to explore self-display with detailed personal information. Such kinds of online social identities, although contributing to their social identities in real life, would be a potential threat to their individual privacy.


Social networking sites promote the youth’s online identity building with five characteristics. First of all, facilitate access makes social networking sites as the convenient place for the youth to explore identity. From internet access through PC (Personal Computer) to ipad and smart phones such as iphone, young people can use their social networking page in a convenient and easy way, even without time limitation.


Besides, the user friendly framework of social networking sites enables the youth to quickly create standardized self-registration information. Take Facebook user page for example, users can easily learn how to update personal information and how to connect with others on the facebook page, which is designed user-friendly.


Although some social networking sites include the software for instant messaging, the characteristic of non-synchronization enables the youth to control their self-introduction through restructuring or reprocessing the content on their social networking page. Rather than instant message which cannot be modified, facebook users can update and modify the content with more pictures, contents and hyperlinks as well to build up a more detained social identity.


Additionally, the youth can build up their different identities within different groups on their social networking page since they can open different parts of their individual information.


However, because of the reduction of visual or auditory cues during the online communication among the youth, it is possible that there would be inappropriate and embarrassing information on the social networking site to promote face-to-face communication.


The youth’s social connection is the basement of their identity building on the social networking sites. For example, the youth is carefully building the cultural self through showing their likes or dislikes on a specific cultural issue such as movie, music and book. Consequently, they are positioning their identity within the cultural space through social networking sites.



Livingstone, S. (2008). Taking Risky Opportunities in Youthful Content Creation: Teenagers’ Use of Social Networking Sites for Intimacy, Privacy and Self-Expression. New Media & Society, 10(3), 393-411


How do the affordances of a networked media culture (hyperlinks, multimedia, sharing etc.) enhance online communication?

Networked media culture such as hyperlinks can enhance online communication through its convenient connection to diversify content on the Web. According to Wood & Smith (2004), hyperlink refers to the connection point from a webpage to a target, which may be another web page, or a different position on the same webpage such as a picture, email address, document or even an application. Within online communication, hyperlinks can not only enlarge the discussion topic content but also provide the audience a more convenient way of communication. For audience, they can follow the direction of hyperlinks to extend relevant or background information about the readings.



The report The Future Queen (and Her Brothers) is a typical report providing hyperlinks within the report to explore the relevant content. For audiences, through clicking the hyperlink of the words glorified studhorse, they can learn the relevant information of Prince William and his wedding. For those audiences who are not familiar with the background of the prince marriage, they would hardly understand the relationship that identified in the report. Through clicking the hyperlinks which characters are in the blue colour, readers can be linked to another webpage with other information related to the hyper-linking word. Therefore, hyperlinks within the report play the role as a resource of background information and extended knowledge to help the audience understanding the report.


Through simply clicking the hyperlinks, web users can explore their communication on a specific object in a more convenient way. For example, through clicking the product name Memorex 4.7 GB DVD+RW, more detailed information of the product including type, production and price would be listed on the other webpage. Consequently, without another search for such information, people can finish the communication of the product in a convenient way within a short period of time of hyperlink clicking. For consumers, they would like to know more information about Memorex 4.7 GB DVD+RW. However, there are so many choices on the website that it is impossible to provide every detail of the product on the same page. Therefore, the hyperlinks on the first page can provide audience the choice the content they want to read. Especially when different customers would focus on different aspect of the product, they do not need to read all information of the product. Instead, they can choose to click the hyperlinks they are interested in.


Wood, A. F., & Smith, M. J. (2004). Online Communication: Linking Technology, Identity, & Culture. Routledge.