Omid Memarian

Monday, June 06, 2005

The impact of the Internet Users on the Election

What is the impact of internet users on the upcoming election? That’s a question of some journalists who are interested of the effects of ICT on the political events such as presidency election. I am going to mention some points on this issue.
1- Most of the internet users belong to middle and upper cultural class. The significant surveys show that we can categorize the Iranian society to 3 major groups. The Satisfied and very satisfied about the regime functions are 35.2%. The unsatisfied and very unsatisfied about the functions and efficiency of the political system are 42.8%. And the others are belonging to the people who have not a perceptible
and varying opinion or don’t mention it clearly(22%). Most of the 42% are people who are educated; represent the middle class such as students, academics, intellectuals, and teachers and so on. The internet users mostly fit in this category. During the last years ago, we had 4 elections. The satisfied people have participated more than 3.7 but the unsatisfied people only 1.7. What does it mean? It means as the people are educated and has a high political awareness; their tendency to participate at any election is so low. A part of internet users who are sensitive about the political actions, are fit in this group. However, some blogs have been so active in the election sphere, but regularly it is not too much.

2- The access to internet in the whole country is not widespread. It means many people do not have access to the open information society and all that distributed in it. At the same time, the networks are not formed and are not active between the users. The power of networks here has not touched strongly. Because lack of social capital in the real society we have the same phenomenon in the virtual society that makes creating the network so hard. It means lack of confidence and inspiring the suspicious atmosphere has been an obstacle against the impact of networks.

3- According to the last statistics, there are 6 million internet users in Iran. But the huge number of this number is not people who are interested in politic. Many of youth as the big part of the users, use the pc only for chat.

4- At the newspaper I work, behind the social desk there are about 8 journalists. But only 2 of them check the political websites or other similar blogs. They use internet for their job daily sometimes more than two hours, but they are not familiar with this atmosphere. So, you can look at the whole society.

5- However, as every body else, I never ignore the role of the internet and ICT phenomenon like weblogs on the awareness of the youth society and also for the widespread middle class. I ma going to tell that we can study this issues as some new phenomenon but not like some thing which can change the destiny of the election. It has its own effect beside the other factors. A journalist from Canada one day told me that the Iranian exaggerates about the phenomena they face with. I asked her, what you mean. “I was talking with a blogger and he was talking in a way about the election, that I thought that the destiny of the election is on the hand of bloggers in Iran. But after a few days, when I talked to some people, I understood that he has exaggerated.” She said to me. I am no going to judge about what she said. But let me tell you that’s a part of reality. Anyway, I agree with some friends of mine that the bloggers have created the social power. It makes no difference that how much it is, the important thing is that the power is increasingly rapidly….I am so hopeful about the future of the phenomena I talked about. What about you


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