Evolving social media-fanned election campaigning seen

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facebook_logoBy The Philippines News Agency

MANILA (7-Mar-2013) – Two youth leaders project social media to further change the way candidates campaign in the political landscape.

“As the digital divide decreases and social media increases, I think that will happen although on-ground campaigning will remain,” Ateneo de Manila University assistant professor Dr. Lisandro Claudio said at State-run PTV 4’s ‘Hatol ng Bayan’ program for the 2013 mid-term polls.

He’s bullish about such projection, noting social media facilitates linkage and communication at lesser cost as this group of Internet-based applications allow people worldwide to create, share and exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks.

Among social media forms experts identified are Internet fora, weblogs, social blogs, micro-blogging, social networks, podcasts, video and social bookmarking.

Emergence of mobile communication devices have helped enhance social media’s accessibility, reach and usability.

“With mobile Internet, there’s more potential to reach even under-served communities,” Kabataan party list Rep. Raymond Palatino said during the program.

Enhanced mobile communication is aiding such party list, politicians and political groups in getting respective constituents’ feedback on concerns affecting them, he noted.

Veteran public relations expert Reli German recognizes social media’s impact on the manner election campaigns are now conducted.

“Social media promotes interaction between candidates and voters,” he said during an earlier edition of the program.

He noted communication through traditional broadcast and print media is mostly one-way.

German believes rising use of social media to scrutinize issues and election candidates reflects voters’ emerging state of maturity.

“We can see that through social media, they’re beginning to express their views on such matters – that’s the start of real maturity,” he said.

Claudio observed poll bets are increasingly tapping social media to particularly reach the youth sector which he cited as among the biggest users of this communication mode.

“The youth is strong on social media which is where this sector’s political energy and creativity can be seen,” he said.

Republic Act 8044 (Youth in Nation-Building Act of 1994) defines the youth as persons 15 to 30 years old.

“A big segment of Filipino voters belongs to the youth sector,” Palatino said.

According to the 1987 Philippine Constitution, suffrage “may be exercised by all citizens of the Philippines, not otherwise disqualified by law, who are at least 18 years of age, and who shall have resided in the Philippines for at least one year and in the place wherein they propose to vote, for at least six months immediately preceding the election.”

Citing January 2010 Commission on Elections data, National Statistical Coordination Board reported a total 50.7 million voters registered for the May 10 national and local polls that year.

Kabataan party list also earlier reported available data show the youth sector accounts for about a third of total Philippine voting population.

Claudio hopes officials’ and candidates’ engagement with the public through social media can increase further.

He believes such online engagement will help parties concerned better explain to the public respective action and proposed initiatives on issues hounding the nation.

Online engagement will also help the public monitor election-related irregularities and better assess qualifications and platforms of poll bets, he added. (PNA)

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