Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Internet, the force in Politics for and used by Politicials

Hey guys, welcome to my 9th Blog which intends to identify the link between Politics and the Internet. Mr. Abel had previously highlighted the use of the internet by Barack Obama during the 2008 US Election. Initially, I just wanted to emphasize the effective ways with the help of the internet of course, which helped further Obama's Campaign that led to his victory.

However, since the Singapore's 2011 General Elections is coming up in May as well, I decided to include this segment by making a comparison between the usage of the internet by Obama, the People's Action Party (PAP), and the Opposition to rally support from the masses to further their cause.

Indeed, the success of the Obama Campaign had resulted in the Singapore Government's better understanding of the internet, but we cannot deny the fact that both parties have come a long way from the "Manual" style of campaigning to a combination of "Manual" and "Cyber" style of campaigning; this allowed these parties to reach out not only to the middle or older generation of voters, but also the younger "above 21 years" generation of voters, and get them to be more aware, more interested, and more participative in the coming "Social Media" Elections.

In addition to going around and meeting the residents of the different constituencies, candidates used numerous forms of social media.
  1. All parties engage the use of online video, blogging, and social networking to establish an even more meaningful connections between the candidate and voters; this helps in the strengthening of relationships between the average Singaporean and candidate/ potential candidate.
  • The People's Action Party had 41 out of the 81 PAP members in parliament join Facebook in 2010. For instance, George Yeo, Minister of Foreign Affairs and a MP of Aljunied GRC actively shares snippets of his personal life and work as a Minister with his 17,000 fans on Facebook to strengthen his vote base, and gain the confidence of the citizens.
  • Another example would be the Opposition, the Worker's Party in Singapore which uploaded short speeches of their candidates on Youtube to increase their popularity, especially if they made good rebuttals that Singaporeans appreciate.
  • Similarly, President Obama of the United States of America for his presidential campaign, the campaign's online social networking website, and it reaped five million "friends" on more than 15 social media sites and three million friends on Facebook alone when the election ended.

Here are 3 videos which proves my point, but the last video was already shown during Mr. Abel's lecture, so I am really sorry about that...anyways, Enjoy :)

While the Obama Campaign used a wide range of social media for fundraising which successfully allowed him to gain more funds to propel himself further in the "rat-race", the Singapore government had restricted the marketing efforts of political parties. Other than the "I love SDP" Danny Bear Mascot, and the easily identifiable "white shirt and white pants",and so on, that's just it.

I expect to see more of these approaches in future Singapore elections, so just a gentle reminder to those who are like myself, a first time voter, to remember to cast your votes on the 7th of May 2011...or you would be in trouble...oops XDXD

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