The internet mirrors society, reflecting our strengths and weaknesses. A healthy society and a healthy internet share the same vital forces: individuals taking action, making things, solving problems, and ultimately building our own environment. We need both technology and social commitment to create spaces where healthy democracies will flourish.
As citizens, we have a right and a responsibility to participate in democracy for it to work. Today we see technology—specifically the internet—enabling rich new ways to participate in democracy. The internet lets citizens swiftly tune in to world events, discuss the implications, organize campaigns, project their voices, and force change. Through the internet, democratically elected leaders can more easily hear diverse voices. By making political activities more transparent, the internet helps citizens hold politicians more accountable. It has created a sea change for democratic political discourse, offering a global soapbox like none other.
We also see the internet magnifying the polarization of our societies and the rise of vitriol, hate speech and misinformation. This amplification is made possible by the Internet and centralized social media platforms, which combine to create mass echo chambers. However the core issues live within the nature of our societies themselves. So today the Internet reflects richness, divisiveness and areas where hope and opportunities to improve one's own life are not as widely available as we would like.