Response 570690010

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Elected representatives

6. Members of Parliament are elected to represent local people’s interests in the House of Commons. How can the internet and social media help with this?

Comment:
By making people aware of what it is MPs actually do, i.e. that it's not all about PMQs, or the Chamber; that a lot of important work goes on in committees, in constituencies and all around the country. Showing examples outside of London - Tweets, photos etc, would be useful to show that Parliament and democracy isn't only happening in Westminster

7. Does social media enhance the local link for MPs, or undermine it by involving them in more national and international discussions?

Comment:
If used correctly, it can enhance the local link

8. Use of interactive technology is increasing. Is this likely to increase pressure for more direct democracy, such as crowd-sourcing, referendums and citizens’ initiatives?

Comment:
Yes. People now expect to be able to get hold of their elected representative at any time and they also expect (not always reasonably) to receive an immediate answer to their question or problem.

9. What will democracy look like in 15 – 20 years?

Comment:
Even more single-issue campaigns, possibly even more mis-trust of politicians, and a further breakdown of the whipping system

Information about politics

10. Most people still get most of their news from television, although this seems to be changing in favour of online information. Traditional news organisations are also changing. What impact will this have on elections and democracy in general?

Comment:
it will mean that the traditional media will have less influence on the outcomes of elections - it is likely, for example, that in the future we won't see such 'It was The Sun wot won it' type headlines, as people become a, less trusting of large media organisations (such as the former News International) and b, are getting their news from more diverse sources who are likely to be more issue rather than political party-centered

11. How can online provision of information about elections be improved, including details of where to vote, how to vote and the results?

Comment:
It needs to go where the people are. If we want more 18-30 year olds, or more women to vote (which we do) then we need to look at where they are getting their information from daily / weekly. That might be Twitter in the case of a lot of people, or Facebook, which is becoming increasingly used by 30-somethings rather than younger people. It might be sites like Buzzfeed which is brilliant at putting out information in a user-friendly way. But only by asking individual groups where they go for their information will we be able to effectively get that information to them.

Political campaigning

12. Can we expect continuous election campaigning through digital channels – what would citizens feel about that and would it undermine or strengthen representative democracy?

Comment:
I think digital election campaigning will increase. All of the main parties now see it as a necessary part of engaging with their core vote and not just among younger voters. Digital campaigning - whether political, commercial or charity / non-profit - is an accepted part of most peoples' lives now and politics has arguably been late to catch on. The Obama campaign in 08 was game chaning for the Democratic Party in the US, but also for political campaigning everywhere. The problem is that the internet (like a traditional mediums) can be full of a lot of mis-information but it spreads quickly on the net in the way it doesn't in more traditional formats. I believe the answer is for trusted sources, like Parliament, to be out there, putting out more information.