Those who claim that the emergence of electronic technologies signals a rejuvenation of democracy often
overlook the inherently anti-democratic nature of the electronic medium itself. These cyber-utopians often
harken back to a time when discourse was truly open and democratic, as in the examples of the ancient
Athenian form of government or the old New England town meetings. Yet nostalgic yearnings which require
that we place past conceptions of self-rule on new forms of technology can only lead to contradiction.

In an excerpt from his book, Democracy and Technology, Richard Sclove notes five reasons why electronic technologies fail to make our society more democratic:

1) In new types of media "part of what is lost is that the original whole was partially constituted by a context
that was essentially tacit, open-textured, and non-specifiable"

2) Screen based technologies encourage passivity and a withdrawal from social interaction

3) Participants can exit quickly, which raises the potential for replacement of long-term relationships with
shallow, short-term ones

4) While we may interact with others across long disctances, "our bodies always remain locally situated."
This phenomenom may cause us to grow indifferent towards our physical neighbors

5) Spacially dispersed social networks can "subvert a collective capacity to govern the locales people
physically inhabit."  (Sclove 2)

The electronic medium, while it has the potential for greater participation by citizens, can also work against
Habermas' idea of the public sphere in which consensus is the end goal of the democratic process. Doing
away with the current representative form of government in favor of a more direct form of democracy can
have unwanted repercussions. Imagine ten thousand people voting on public school curriculum, or ten million
people attempting to come up with a plan to balance a city's budget. With electronic networks, there arises
the possibility of too much input at once.