Civic Life Online: Learning How Digital Media Can Engage by W. Lance Bennett

By W. Lance Bennett

The connection of participation in on-line groups to civic and political engagement.

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Additional info for Civic Life Online: Learning How Digital Media Can Engage Youth (John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Series on Digital Media and Learning)

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But the move toward increasingly personalized media and one-to-one marketing may encourage self-obsession, instant gratification, and impulsive behaviors. Whether the Internet ultimately becomes a force for civic and political renewal among youth remains to be seen. However, even though many of the business practices are already in place, there is still enough fluidity in the emerging digital media system to enable decisions to be made to help guide its future. 111 Hopefully, these efforts will grow into a broader movement.

34 Other youth vote campaigns developed their own innovative digital strategies. 35 James Hong and Jim Young, creators of Youth and Digital Democracy 31 the successful online dating site, HotOrNot, launched VoteOrNot. The venture was based on the same principle that friends could do a much better job of influencing each other than could impersonal advertising messages. To attract people to the site, the sponsors offered a $200,000 sweepstakes that would be split between the winner and the person who had referred him or her to the site.

110 But more important, such fears have diverted attention away from developing a broader understanding of the role of digital media as a positive force in the lives of children and youth. Although government action on some of the policies described in the preceding pages could take place in the near future, most of these issues are likely to remain in play for quite some time, creating opportunities to enlarge the terms of the debate over the future of digital media, and to enlist the involvement of a broader segment of the public.

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