SG Elections: New media elections

Singaporeans will be going to the polls in about six day’s time. This time, the elections have taken on a multi-dimensional approach as new media has come to the fore. During each rally each night, thousands of images, tweets and Youtube videos would be uploaded, shared, and commented on.

From Facebook fan pages for various political parties and specific politicians and activists, to YouTube videos, to live streaming of political rallies, to multiple blogs and viral images, there is no doubt that the power of new media is a force to be reckoned with.

I’ve listed below some of the many links that will help you get a handle on the politics of new media and the new media of politics!

Singapore: Social media, youth, and elections

Singapore elections: Nicole Seah and the social media effect

What Can We Expect In The 2011-2012 Singapore General Elections?

Singapore Elections 2011 – Can Social Media And Politics Mix?

Facebook, YouTube the new battlegrounds in Singapore elections

Social media: The new battleground in Singapore elections

Egypt protests with new media

The world is reeling from the shockingly quick descent of Egypt into chaos and destruction as the country implodes with riots and violence, with many of the Egyptians calling for President Hosni Mubarak to step down.

New media platforms in the likes of Facebook and Twitter have been added to the heady mix of volatile politics in the region. Often seen as tools for democratisation that give voice to the everyman, Facebook and Twitter were used by the Egyptians to stir up sentiments against Mubarak, and garner supporters to organise anti-government protest marches. This resulted in the government shutting down the Internet, adding much fuel to the already raging fire of hatred and discontentment.

To add to all this is Kenneth Cole’s infamous tweet: 

Millions are in uproar in #Cairo,” the tweet read. “Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is now available online at http://bit.ly/KCairo -KC

Kenneth Cole angered many, who saw him capitalising and trivialising the Eyptian political crisis. Cole has since tweeted his apology. An obviously offended person actually put up the tweet on one of the store windows. Cole has tweeted that it was a prank and that he was not responsible for the inappropriate store display.

Looks like Kenneth Cole’s new media faux pax serves as important lessons in new media PR for all. On, what a twit, er, I mean, tweet.

We can continue to follow the unfolding situation in Egypt through tweets: http://twitter.com/#search?q=egypt%20protests and http://twitter.com/#search?q=egypt%20. Youtube is also full of videos showing angry protests in Cairo. The political struggle is also one played out in new media.

New Media at the PAP Conference 2009

In a move to show that it’s embracing the use of new media, there was new media tools galore at the recent People’s Action Party (PAP) Conference 2009.

A team of young PAP bloggers were on hand to capture and update posts on the fly on the PAP website as well as on Facebook and Twitter, and netizens could also send Twitter updates and comments. At the same time, partcipants at the event could sms their comments and questions, making the whole atmosphere seem very Web 2.0 – the age of participation and engagement.

According to an article by CNA, “this is the first time new media tools have been given such a prominent spot at the PAP Convention. It is part of a broader effort to update and refresh the party image, reach out to the wider public, and hopefully bring in new members”. Young PAP has a Facebook page to reach out to the young too.

I believe this could be seen as a sincere attempt by the party to use new media to engage its members as well as the larger public. This could be a response to comments made about lip service and all.

The party also screened his political video, in a move to signal that yes, political videos are acceptable. In fact, the government has announced that political videos would be allowed for the next GE.

This is one of the videos – on Unsung Heroes:

Also, in a move to also reflect the age of participation in the live event, (not just in virtual worlds) the party invited ordinary members to make speeches and reach out to their fellow member.

We look forward to seeing how new media will be used to enhance the political climate in Singapore!

George Yeo on Facebook

I’ve written previously about how politicians are using new media to reach out and stay connected with the public. Local politician Mr George Yeo has been one of the ‘pioneers’ amongst his politican peers to use new media. He started with his blogging and then progressed to having a Facebook page which he updates pretty regularly. So now, you can go on and poke George Yeo. He go so popular that he exceeded the 5000-friends limit and has since started a new public facebook page to accommodate the ever-increasing number of friends and suuporters.

It seems that his use of new media has helped to make him more approachable. Just the other day, a student who was facing some Visa problems for her trip to the US emailed him, and he was able to help her sort out her mess. No doubt, this will help boost his popularity even further and will no doubt prompt others to turn to him for help. Already, many supporters are sending him messages and leaving him encouraging notes on his facebook page!

It certainly looks like Mr George Yeo has found success with new media!

Fighting the Israel-Hamas war on New Media

2009 saw the continuation of the Israel-Hamas battle over the Gaza Strip which had started about a week and a half before the end of 2008.

I recall the very moment I had first inklings of the war. I was in my hotel room in Tiberius watching the news and I could not believe what I was hearing – that the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas had ceased and Hamas was launching rockets into southern Israel.

I was wondering if our tour to Jerusalem would be affected. Thankfully, no, and we were able to experience an amazing Jerusalem.

Yes, I know that might have sounded selfish, but seriously, I didn’t have a clue how serious the incidents were! Which also goes to show that when you are travelling, a lot of times, you get cut off from the traditional news and also new media and hence you don’t get updated on info, which goes to show how much we rely on the media for info and hpw the media often shapes our worldviews (ok, so i digress…)

I thought all was well..I mean no news is good news, right?

A few days after we got back from Israel, I watched  the news and heard that war had broken out.  Such is the fragile peace in that region.

Besides ‘conventional’ warfare (well, frankly, there should be nothing conventional about warfare!) both sides are fighting it out using new media. Propagangda is being propagated via Youtube!

The Israel government even has a Youtube channel that shows footage of bombings of Hamas military sites. They do this to counter the rumours circulating that they are targeting civilian sites.  I am not featuring any videos by the Israelis or the Hamas here but a quick check on Youtube will show you the multiple videos that have been uploaded officially as well as unofficially.

The war is also taking place in the blogosphere as bloggers slug it out in a war of words and persuasion.

You can read more about it at http://www.menassat.com/?q=news-articles/5209-when-israelis-speak-arabic-and-palestinians-hebrew

 

Well, so we can now get a closer look at the war – does it make things better? 

Let’s pray for peace.

Shalom.

PAP and New Media

A few weeks ago, I talked about Obama’s Youtube communications method, as well as touched on the local government announcing its wish to engage more, especially the young, via new media.

There’s been recent information about how the use of  new media should be allowed by political parties as it helps put their message out there and reach the Internet-savvy young.

Earlier this month, the Advisory Council on the Impact of New Media on Society (AIMs) presented its report on Internet regulations, with recommendations made for laws on political videos and online election material to be relaxed.

Young PAP Chairman, Teo Ser Luck, together with his deputies will be looking into this.

What can they do to embrace and employ new media? How could they be successful? Would they be successful? What do you think?

Obama’s ‘fireside chats’ take the high (tech) road in cyberspace

A couple of posts ago, I blogged about Obama’s clever use of new media and how that’s helped him to win the recent US Presidential elections. In fact, he’s come to be known as the Youtube President!

Not surprisingly then, that Obama has chosen to stay on the Youtube course and use it to broadcast his weekly address to the American public (actually, he now has the potential to address an international audience as well). 

Obama is giving what is known as the traditional weekly radio broadcast by US Presidents, a tradition started by Roosevelt, a modern-day twist. Back then, and since then, the ‘fireside chats’ of the various Presidents have been broadcast on radio. Now, with new media, Obama has found an added channel to reach out to the public, especially the younger set that forms the Youtube and Facebook generation.

What’s also interesting is that by going direct to Youtube, the Obama administration has greater control over what is broadcast. According to the Straits Times article on Obama’s online chats, Obama and his people could “would curb the power of a traditional but often unpopular middleman between presidents and the populace: the mainstream media”. This means that the public get a dose of Obama unadulterated and unmediated (as much as non-mediation via media is allowed). Doing this would also make Obama’s government “more transparent“.

Obama’s first Youtube address after he won the elections is available on his website: www.change.gov. Subsequent addresses can also be viewed there.

In fact, this website has proved to be a source of information on Obama and the directions he’s taking as the President-elect.

And with Youtube videos being so embed-able, his address would be seen by so many more, due to the viral nature of ‘marketing’ on new media.

Now, I’ve mentioned previously as well that our local political groups could also learn something from the Obama campaign and its use of new media. Just yesterday, there was news that PAP is aiming to click with the young by letting the IT-savvy watch short videos of PAP MPs at events on its revamped PAP website.

Party chairman Lim Boon Heng said, “New media is facilitating change. Our party is gearing up our resources to harness this new platform.” In fact, on the Young PAP website, there are articles on new media and its social impact

Now, while it’s good and timely for our local political parties to incorporate the use of new media, I believe more must be done than just posting videos of MPs at events. More could be done to harness the power of new media to reach out to the public and allow for the age of participation and a new generation of digital natives. Perhaps the digital natives out there would like to share how better engagement could be achieved via new media.