The Engine is the Internet: How New Media is Driving the New Democracy

This is a rough draft of a speech I am writing for Ron Carpenter’s Speechwriting course at the University of Florida. The assignment: Write a speech in praise of an institution or ideal.

Ancient papyrus, modern newsprint, radio and television broadcasts. By way of these media have we consumed information in the past. No more.

ABC, CBS, NBC dictated our reality yesterday, but Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube define the times today. In remarkable ways does this highway of new media networks enable The People to communicate. We are the drivers of a new Democracy, and the World Wide Web is our vehicle.

With swift speed do the stories we highly regard travel from person to community to globe. The engine is the Internet.

At the click of a button do we draw attention to stories and create urgency over issues we demand are important. The engine is the Internet.

Some say our generation is hooked on silly gadgets. I say we are empowered by these tools. We are not slaves to our computers. We are the active, conscientious drivers of today’s digital democracy, and the engine is the Internet.

The media of yesterday was hand-fed to us by extraordinary media titans, but the knowledge of today is disseminated through a web of individual citizens like you and me.

Consider the recent “It’s Game Time, Obama!” Internet campaign. On Twitter, Facebook and YouTube the People rallied around one goal: to convince Obama to go to the upcoming Copenhagen Climate Summit. Barraged was Barack with phone calls from thousands of youth leaders who made three demands: 1) meet with us to talk climate change; 2) follow up with a clean energy curriculum; 3) go to Copenhagen.

After months of silence, the president spoke November 25 of his intention to attend the Copenhagen conference. Today, the White House hosted the first ever Youth Clean Energy Economy Forum with young leaders, and “webcasts” of the historic event were streamed via and the “White House Live” Facebook application. Viewers on Facebook chimed in on chat, while other citizens posted updates on Twitter, YouTube and in blogs.

Strong was the campaign. Mighty is the will of the people. Indispensable is the device that enabled this demonstration of democracy, the Internet.

You can be a part of the digital democracy by sharing this blog post.