We were recently asked whether social media sites, specifically Ruck.us, can “really can make a difference in the [two-party] political world given that it is run and funded largely by Democrats?” First, I don’t think it matters that Ruck.us is funded largely by Democrats. The question of whether social media can make a difference in our two-party political system should be answered before we get to that issue.
I support any attempt to “democratize” the process and bring the political dialogue to regular people. However, with respect to social media, I believe that to have a real impact, a website has to capture more than just those willing to participate in social media political circles. While the majority of voters might find themselves on some for of social network, I do not think the average voter will spend their time talking about politics online. The average voter is folding their laundry, taking care of their kids, and watching a football game.
Those of us who live in the political world, right or wrong, often lose sight of this. While Ruck.us has admirable goals and may ultimately meet a great level of success, I am not sure whether it will be able to have an affect that “goes beyond the two-party system.” I think that the political dialogue must change on a more general level before those involved enough to join a political social network will have the power to change it. After all, the people folding their laundry, taking care of their kids, and watching the football game, stopped listening to our political rants a long time ago.