Youtube's Potential as a Model for Democracy: Exploring Citizentube for "Thick" Democratic Content

Kristal Leah Curry


The purpose of this article was to examine whether and in what ways the medium of YouTube (and in particular the Citizentube channel) can model a thick conception of democracy, and what limitations exist for democracy to be modeled and enacted in this medium.  Three ideas were chosen to define "thick democracy:" active participation by citizens, pursuing social justice, and engaging in democratic dialogue.  A sample of 106 videos located in the "favorites" tab of the Citizentube channel was analyzed to determine how well they modeled these three aspects of thick democracy.  The article concludes that although YouTube, and in particular Citizentube, evidences many elements of democratic content including some superficial aspects of thick democracy, the more advanced aspects of democracy have yet to be developed in this medium.  It may be that democracy in social networking spaces, like democracy everywhere, is a process rather than an accomplishment. 


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