Will social media change Singaporean politics?

4 Apr 2008 (Fri)

WILL SOCIAL MEDIA ACTIVISTS CHANGE the face of politics in Singapore in one or two years’ time? Will the US Elections voting patterns correlate closely with the subscription, viewership and interaction patterns on YouChoose 08 (on YouTube) and other social media such as Facebook?

Last month (March 25), in a report entitled My Biggest Mistake, TodayOnline reported that Malaysia’s Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi admitted making the biggest mistake in thinking that the Internet was not important. The PM’s ruling coalition suffered its worst results ever in March 8 polls that left five states and a third of parliamentary seats in opposition hands.

Among them was 67-year-old opposition Democratic Action Party chairman Lim Kit Siang who won a parliamentary seat in Ipoh Timor. He ran three blogs, which were meticulously updated with multiple posts every day. Long-time blogger Jeff Ooi, 52, also won as a DAP candidate in Penang. Like many other opposition leaders, they were able to reach out to young urban and educated people, many who were voting for the first time. Mr Ooi added that Web users are not limited by age. “We attract many citizens above 45 years old and these are the people who are more interested in politics and the oppositions’ viewpoint.”

In March last year, PR, market & biz dev coordinator Jonathan Dunn reported:

YouTube has launched a channel that will broadcast videos submitted by ‘08 U.S. Presidential nominees. The goal is for the channel to act as an information hub for the hopefuls and, one supposes, offer a way to counter unauthorized, potentially damaging, videos that may be posted by other users….

So far Rudy Giuliani, Barak Obama, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, John McCain, Dennis Kucinich, Bill Richardson, Mitt Romney and Joe Biden are on board. The videos seem to be a mix of carefully scripted campaign stops and the usual ‘on the trail/vote for me’ rhetoric. A click on the candidate’s videos on the channel home page (or on the candidate’s names above) takes you to a profile page for each candidate where other videos and info are hosted.

A few months later, in June, CBC News Today host Nancy Wilson interviewed broadcaster, researcher, and Internet evangelist Jesse Hirsh regarding the role and influence of social media on the 2008 US Presidential Election, e.g. “Why would candidates want to figure prominently on Facebook?”, intimacy on social media, dirty campaign tricks, blogging vs mainstream media, level playing field, etc.

 

By now, only three presidential candidates are featured on YouChoose 08: Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for the Democrats and John McCain for the Republicans.

Democrats Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton on YouChoose 08

Republican John McCain on YouChoose 08

Will the US Elections voting patterns correlate closely with the subscription, viewership and interaction patterns on YouChoose 08 (on YouTube) and other social media such as Facebook?

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Posted by J.K. in *Insights, Malaysia, Politics, Possibilities, Problems, Singapore, Social Media | View Comments |

  • http://www.verbie.com/verbie.html Social media agencies

    I would be really surprised if candidates in any major election from now on would not be using social media as a vital part of their campaigns.

    Youtube is just the beginning. The overall reputation management going on right now in social media and the metrics of popularity for the candidates being derived from these sites shows their importance.

  • http://www.ezbusinessneeds.com Singapore SEO

    I would say web 2.0 applications such as Facebook, YouTube, Delicious and etc are powerful tools to broadcast your message across the world. Never underestimate the power of social medias

  • http://yellowmagpie.com Joseph Condron

    I don’t think that social networking has changed politics. It is just a communications tool – it is still up to people to use them to communicate.

    Obama’s election win wasn’t won on his social media skills alone. It was won by his ability to put forward a vision. Voters subsequently decided that they preferred his vision more than the other candidates.

    Granted social media helps a lot but it really is no different to any other medium of communication.

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