The Internet was supposed to revolutionize democracy. It was supposed to take the power from wealthy elites, give ordinary people a voice in the political process and make the system more responsive.
“I think a lot of us, 10 years ago, were overly optimistic that, by itself, the Internet was going to ‘democratize democracy.’ And in the early days, it felt like something different was happening, because so many more people were getting into the political process because it was so much easier," explains Micah Sifry, author of The Big Disconnect: Why The Internet Hasn’t Transformed Politics (Yet).
The promise of those early days hasn’t exactly been realized. The Internet does have a role in politics — just look at the amount of money politicians are able to raise online — but it hasn’t been as transformative as Sifry hoped.
“What we see now [is that] the people who already had a lot of power, [they’ve figured] out how to adapt to the Internet to make it work for them and keep the balance