Chapter Three: The Digital Revolution and a New Democracy

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The Digital Revolution has changed the shape of Communications and democratised it in a radical way, so that top-down messaging has become a thing of the past. Power now rests with the people – and people now expect to be heard as a right. A new “Citizen Politics” is accelerating popular engagement, together with the seismic shifts of Climate Change and Wellbeing, into a truly revolutionary force for change.

In the Digital age, brand, corporate or political reputation rests not in the hands of a select few but at the fingertips of many – and in conversations where a whole raft of people take part. Many people, even professional communicators, still fundamentally misunderstand the Digital revolution. To them it is just about technology and the way that you receive or communicate information. But it is a cultural transformation – it’s about democracy and empowerment. We all have the ability to blog, campaign, engage and lobby. In the Digital Democracy we are more enquiring, less respectful or even trusting of authority. We expect transparency and accessible information from corporations and public bodies alike. Reference has replaced deference and the respect for hierarchy is dead, eroded in the past 30 years but slaughtered in the past five.

In the Digital age, reputation rests not in the hands of a select few but at the fingertips of many.

The Digital Democracy holds all of us to account, whether politicians, companies or brands. It changes the shape of Communication and the speed at which we work. People, who we never thought could make demands, now expect to be heard as a right. The audience may be fractured and fragmented but they can coalesce on-line into a force for change because the beauty of digital is the effective democratisation of people and opinions. Trip Advisor advances the democracy of holiday advice, Facebook is the home of the democratic friendship and e-Bay a pure marketplace. Today, we can all be journalists with blogs, v-logs and texts to the media. Mobile phones bring the Citizen journalist to the nightly news. And every organisation has the potential to be a media outlet in its own right.

Digital Democracy and The Rise Of Accountability and Transparency
Ethical Economy within Digital Democracy
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ABOUT CITIZEN RENAISSANCE
Citizen Renaissance was conceived by Jules Peck and Robert Phillips in the spring of 2008 – on the eve of the global economic crisis and before The Big Society had really seen the light of day. Originally published as a wiki, Citizen Renaissance explores the collision of the three seismic shifts of our time: the perfect storm surrounding Climate Change; the Wellbeing Imperative; and the axiomatic rise of Digital Democracy. At its heart lies a call for more citizen-centric thinking and behaviour and an end to the global imbalance of Wants & Needs. Citizen Renaissance continues today as a forum for thought; a platform for the exchange of ideas; and as a collaborative project that seeks to develop a Manifesto for Change.
THE AUTHORS
Jules Peck was Director of David Cameron’s Quality of Life Policy Group, advising the Conservative Party on wellbeing and environment issues.
Robert Phillips is a Writer and Thinker. He was previously President & CEO, EMEA, of Edelman, the world’s largest Public Relations firm. Although a committed workaholic and Manchester United fan, Robert is still determined to change the world in his spare time.
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