Bimber, Bruce. "The Internet and Citizen Communication with Government: Does the Medium Matter?" Political Communications. Volume: 16 Number: 4 Page: 409(18)

Keywords: political behavior,political participation,


This article addresses the concern of what new technology implies for models of political behavior. A popular claim is that the Internet increases political participation by citizens. The author says this idea is theoretically interesting – mostly when viewed from the angle that contacting government officials has always been one of the most common acts of political participation. So increased acts of contacts should represent increased participation. Another claim is that changes in communications technology lead to changes in political behavior. The idea being that the Internet will alter patterns of influence between elites and the general public. The bottom line question is “does the medium matter?” The author thinks that the medium matters but only in incremental ways, not in revolutionary ways. There are technology distribution problems among the citizens and technology adoption problems among politicians. The author suggests that the Internet may be broadening the democratic base of those who already express themselves and participate. But the Internet also allows for the unwelcome communications, that of citizens engaging in insincere discourse without lasting conviction. The author concludes that the medium matters but not by much.