The day has come that we can sit in class and watch tweets of the punchlines from the State of the Union address from the President. The president is in our streams – and about time. The infiltration of the “democratic” online “public” by both government and special interests has happened (even if it still has far to go to be complete infiltration).
We can tweet @barackobama or Claire McCaskill and feel like we got somewhere. But did we really? Do they even see it? Not likely. It is arguable that this representation of political figures online within our networks is at best misleading and creates a swelled sense of importance and influence (as illustrated by clictivism and other such armchair activism manifestations). Tip: Boehner doesn’t care how much Klout you have, he still won’t vote for universal healthcare. In a very reasonable aspect, the online social integration of public and private bypasses our actual democratic system (with representatives and proportional votes) in favor of portraying a “true” democracy where each has his own say and it is counted at face value.
The argument can also be made (and easily proven) that online representations of major political figures is a marketing ploy to alter your perception of said figures. Big brands want to appear on your side and receive favorable regard from you – this supports their “social” efforts within online networks (Tide aims for mommy blogging circles like Coca-Cola hits Facebook hard).
So, the question must be asked: what have you actually accomplished online?