Martin Karlsson, in “Representation as Interactive Communication”, writes about how politicians should be reaching out to citizens by using social media to bridge the distance between the people of the state and the people that govern the state. In today’s society, citizens are doubting the legitimacy of the government more than ever as they feel increasingly distant and less trustworthy in political parties and those who are associated with them. Karlsson writes that it’s increasingly important for politicians to communicate with citizens on a more personal scale, to ensure their full understanding of the government in the state and the position their elected authorities have. To regain this sense of connectivity between government and citizens, politicians shouldn’t forgo the norms of the government but rather find new strategies to follow old norms. With the emergence of social media on the internet, the perfect opportunity for politicians to develop those new strategies has surfaced. Karlsson said that with blogs especially, politicians can convey their thoughts and messages to the public with an option for anyone in the country to reply and respond with their own opinion, in turn that said politician can read and reply to.
I agree completely with Karlsson. What he didn’t go over however was why we the citizens are feeling our government and politicians are losing their legitimacy as we lose our trust. I’d argue the creation of the world wide web, specifically social media websites, have opened up the eyes of many Canadians and offered them enough information for everyone to formulate a solid, factually based opinion rather than subjective arguments based off what they see on television or hear on the radio. The internet, as biased as it can be sometimes, is absolutely completely unbiased in the right places, which is where the true light is shed on controversial issues, especially those regarding the government. With an entire country armed with knowledge, the government isn’t the most intelligent force any longer. They’re the authority still, but the minds of those authorizing and the minds of those electing are on a similar page now, leading people to figure different, better ways (in their opinion) that the country could be run. This is why the legitimacy of the government isn’t as strong as it used to be, and this is why politicians have to reach out to citizens and bridge the physical gap between the two groups. If we know we can be just as smart as the people who run the country, we should be able to communicate directly with those who run the country. It gives citizens a sense of power and control over the land they live on, even though the old norms of sovereignty aren’t being changed.