Types of participation

An online petition
An online petition on the UK Government petition website

There is more to political participation than voting to elect a government once every four or five years. Over the last few years a new type of less formal political participation has evolved – aided by the internet and social media.

Online activism is becoming increasingly popular with many people using the internet to organise protests or change popular opinion about a range of issues.

One such site is the UK-based campaigning forum, 38 Degrees. With over two million members, 38 Degrees helps organise and promote campaigns to bring about change across a broad range of political and social issues. These campaigns can be:

  • online petitions to have issues debated in Parliament
  • physical protests
  • support to put pressure on companies by boycotting products

In recognition of the popularity of online campaigns, the UK government has introduced a policy whereby petitions with over 100,000 signatures can be debated in the House of Commons.