This presentation talked about civic engagement from three metaphors: soapboxes, echo chambers, & Salons. How are people affected by social media in terms of civic engagement?
(Notes from the presenters are posted online at http://command-f.info/)
SOAPBOX (able to publicly say your opinions & beliefs)
From the "street corner," you can make your opinions known as well as stand up for voiceless populace. Anyone can post anything. Historical examples given were the Stamp Act & when the telegraph (new technology)
ECHO CHAMBERS (surrounded by like-minded people & beliefs)
These are naturally formed communities. People seek out opinions & beliefs similar to what they believe in, but don't necessarily avoid or shutout others with opposing opinions. The Selective Exposure Theory was mentioned. There have been a recent study on where people get exposed the most to different perspectives; the main stream media was the overwhelming source.
These represent neutral public spaces that were removed from institutions & political parties. The example--women were present, so men had to learn how to converse politely in front of others. Internet behaviors show similar characteristics in that each place has different expectations & norms. The last election showed 40% of adults watched videos, and 40% searched for primary information that was not filtered.
The big part of civic engagement is caring, and the echo chambers play an important part; they show that people do care about the issues.