How impactful was social media in Singapore's General Elections?

Summary:The dust has settled from the great tussle that Singapore's General Elections 2011 (or 'watershed elections' as some put it). We know that the use of social media by the politicians and by citizenry was liberalized and resulted in a lot of interest.

The dust has settled from the great tussle that Singapore's General Elections 2011 (or 'watershed elections' as some put it). We know that the use of social media by the politicians and by citizenry was liberalized and resulted in a lot of interest.

Was it just merely "noise" or "chatter"? Or did it create a tide (although it was not the same kind of tide as those created in Tunisia and Egypt)? There are some developments that could be worth pointing to in trying to answer this question:

(a) Most of the political parties embraced social media, though, some more than others and some more successfully than others. It seems that some were clearly more prepared to use social media and the Internet. In particular, the opposition parties were especially keen, attributing to their oft-heard complaint about government-controlled media.

However, the ruling party also seemed to embrace social media with a number of politicians featured in answering posts and chatting online. The ruling party was also noted for having a number of different offline campaigns to promote their online presence.

(b) Elections-related sites seemed to be very popular. With the only-reported pageview stats I could find, the ST Online site recorded an all-time pageview high.

(c) Specific individuals found that social media could be a great power for their popularity. The rise of Nicole Seah in a matter of days from an unknown to one of the most recognized politicians could be attributed to social media, judging from the number of "Likes" she received on her Facebook page.

However, the question whether social media made a difference (or how large a difference it made) is still one to be asked, given that Nicole's team was eventually defeated in a Group Representation Constituency contest.

Likewise, other politicians who had it tough on the Internet could attribute some loss of votes to social media but given that most of them prevailed in their contests, the jury is still out.

Whatever it is, the impact of social media (or lack thereof) has given political parties and politicians much to chew upon as they prepare themselves for the next battle.

Topics: Social Enterprise

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.