ABSTRACT

This chapter focuses on the way citizens engage with politicians and attempt to participate in politics in the online world. The specific focus is on engagement with political candidates in the run-up to major election contests. Election contests, particularly those of national importance, create an arena in which citizens theoretically have the opportunity to play many roles. These range from being simply consumers of, or reactors to, political messages to being active participants in influencing politicians’ decisions and behaviour. This chapter looks at the latter and at how citizens, and their organisations, attempt to lobby election candidates. While between elections there are a finite number of political decision-makers to attempt to influence, the emergence of candidates in the run-up to a poll means there are new and extra people to contact as well as an environment in which contact should be welcomed.