Blog Entry 9: Politics and the Internet

In recent years, politics have become a pertinent part of the Internet, as politicians take to garnering support over various social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, and individuals become accustomed to sharing their oftentimes very strong political inclinations on blogs and in forums. So much of a trend has this become that even politically-conservative Singapore is not spared – the 2011 General Elections and the outpouring of support for the opposition parties and expression of disgruntlement with the incumbent government painted a very sobering picture.

A particularly interesting (and worrying) trend pertaining to the interweaving of politics and the Internet is the concept of the “splinternet”. Also referred to as cyberbalkanization, the splinternet is a characterization of the Internet as splintering and dividing due to numerous aspects, including politics and nationalism. Pertaining to these two aspects, it was discovered that many countries engaged in politically-motivated filtering of information. This selective provision of information – and therefore implied valuing of one source or type of information over another by the government – will invariably change the way affected people perceive the world. People will come to adopt a biased position on pertinent issues, or, in some extreme cases, not even be aware of the existence of these situations.

Other issues include the emergence of tribal mentality alongside the rise of the global village in the digital age – rather than a collective or mass consciousness, what results are various specialized electronic tribes contentious over diverse beliefs and values regarding a wide array of issues, in this case regarding politics.

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