Asan Plenum

It is clear in recent protests in Korea and Egypt, among others, that social media have played a role in organizing and guiding mass behavior. In the United States, President Obama used the internet and sites like Facebook to raise money and organize his successful campaign. What is common to both the social protests and Obama’s election is that on the input to government side, social media affect mass politics and help to determine results. What is unclear is how once in power or having rid a country of its leaders, a la Egypt, what role information plays in this governing process. For all of the Obama campaign’s proficiency with information in 2008, they were not able to connect it so as to increase pressure on governmental actors to pass the policies they desired. Thus, before we jump to conclusions regarding how information will change leadership and mass politics, we need to think hard about when and where the new information inputs will have the most affect on politics and policy.