Social Media, Civic Engagement, and Local Governments: Special Consideration to the Office of the Mayor of NYC

Social Media, Civic Engagement, and Local Governments: Special Consideration to the Office of the Mayor of NYC

Leocadia Díaz Romero (Murcia State University, Murcia, Spain)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 11
DOI: 10.4018/IJCESC.2016100102
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Abstract

Social media, if correctly used, enhance cultural, political, economic and social engagement. They also represent key communications tools for administrators to highlight the principles of openness and transparency. Nowadays Local Governments have as well a social media presence. The following contribution casts light on contemporary forms of democracy, deepening on concepts such as E-Government and E-Democracy. The paper describes as well how the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and Social Media can benefit governance, and promote good governance, focusing on some experiences launched at the local and municipal level. Finally, it offers an empirical approach of the use of ICTs by the Office of the Mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio.
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Contemporary Forms Of Democracy In The Digital Age

As we have already mentioned, the use of Information and Communication Technologies and Social Media can strengthen political participation and civic engagement, and enhance contemporary forms of democracy that aim to foster representative democracy with the presence of the civil society.

Representative democracy has repeatedly been identified with the notion of democracy itself. The essence of representation resides in the celebration of regular, free, fair elections where political parties compete to be in office. The legitimacy of the system is, thus, grounded on parties and elections.

In Western countries, scholars have observed a certain erosion of the representative model: not of democracy itself but of the functioning of representative institutions. Representation has not supervised, restrained and controlled effectively the government (Hirst, 2009). This trend does not apply to transitional regimes: they undergo a different path and revolutions have occurred to establish regimes based on electoral democracy –e.g., “the Arab Spring.”

Paying special attention to Western countries, the financial crisis – breaking out in 2008- and the austerity measures introduced have raised a wave of protests and disenchantment among citizens all over Europe. They are concerned and fear the disintegration of the welfare State, and alert on the increasing poverty income limit and inequality (Oxfam Report, 2016).

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