How Does The Digital Age Impact On Our Democracy & Our Communities?
Community engagement in the world of the 21st century is very different to what it was in the previous one. Much of this is due to the growth of the digital age, the new media and social networking. Of course many other issues like funding, government policy, austerity and much more affect engagement but probably the most significant fact is the advent of the digital age.
In the twentieth century community engagement as well as political engagement was organisationally based. People belonged to organisations and were committed to them. Political parties grew this way as did the many groups that grew up in the 20th century – Amnesty, Greenpeace, Anti Apartheid and so on.
But the digital 21st century has made our society more “person” orientated than organisational. Traditional organisations have become less attractive as people make their own connections through social networks. The result is that huge numbers of groups emerge online and a new audience of people connect with each other.
But often the network age is a “drop in and drop out” one where people do not stay for the long course. Interest in politics and community issues has grown immensely but it can often be ephemeral and translating these new networks into focused action is the great dilemma of the digital and network age.
This is in a way the crisis of 21st century democracy – engaging people in the digital age so that engagement is sustainable and has results. The Webinar that we are holding on April 5th will begin to tackle this dilemma and it is one of several that will look at this issue over the coming year.
We would be very interested in your views about how we can tackle this problem and you would be welcome to join us on April 5th just to listen if you want but also to contribute with your own views and perspectives.http://app.webinarjam.net/register/20480/7434bdff0e