Political knowledge – there’s an app for that. In fact, there are many. But are they a truly effective way of engaging prospective voters? In this article, the author explores the trend towards creating digital applications designed to raise interest and understanding of our democratic systems. Commentators suggest that these applications will be most effective when widely promoted, and are only one part of broader engagement strategies which will focus on open data initiatives and fostering two-way communication between politicians, governments and the public.
A growing number of digital developers are using their skills to create applications to foster greater engagement in politics among Canadians, and particularly among youth. Yet, while citizen engagement advocates agree that social media and emerging digital technologies can play an important role in reversing a decades-long decline in Canadians’ interest and involvement the country’s formal political institutions, it hasn’t happened yet and may not happen for quite some time.