Political ad war shifts to cyberspace

Summary:Now that the country's first automated elections is just five weeks away, the campaign season has gone on a hyperdrive with jaded voters being bombarded with all sorts of ridiculous propaganda.But, with most of the leading candidates already having exhausted the TV airtime allowed by the Fair Elections Act, the political battle among the bitter rivals is moving to the Internet where the online crowd--particularly in Facebook--is converging in the millions.

Now that the country's first automated elections is just five weeks away, the campaign season has gone on a hyperdrive with jaded voters being bombarded with all sorts of ridiculous propaganda.

But, with most of the leading candidates already having exhausted the TV airtime allowed by the Fair Elections Act, the political battle among the bitter rivals is moving to the Internet where the online crowd--particularly in Facebook--is converging in the millions.

There's one good reason why the shift is coming: there's no law yet governing online campaigning in the Philippines but I guess the country is not alone in this respect.

This means that, unlike in the real world where only a certain amount of money can be spent on political advertisements, it's free-for-all in the virtual world.

It's also "free" in the sense that a campaign coordinator only needs to be creative in order to wage a successful online campaign. If he or she decides to put up an online ad, the cost is still much cheaper compared to expensive TV ads.

The candidates could also be taking a page from the Obama team who elevated the art of online campaigning to a new level during the 2008 U.S. elections. By tapping social media and exploiting the use of viral marketing, Obama was able to raise a record amount of campaign funds that ultimately played a major role in clinching a historic victory.

In the Philippines, collecting funds through the Internet is still far off in the future. I'm not even sure if that's possible at all here. For now, exploring and exploiting the wide expanse of cyberspace is the only thing that these poll bets can do to collect votes.

Here's an example of how an Internet-based campaign can gain a few good points for a candidate. In the video, Richard Gordon, a senator who's running for president in the May 10 elections, joins the comic duo Moymoy Palaboy in acting out a song. (Please note that I'm not endorsing Gordon. I highlight this as an example because this video has made the rounds and has been quite successful in stirring the interest of voters.)

Topics: Security, E-Commerce, Emerging Tech, Enterprise 2.0, Government : Asia, Hardware, Philippines, Social Enterprise, Virtualization

About

Joel has been a media practitioner since 1996, starting off as a reporter and eventually becoming editor of a pioneering IT trade newspaper in Manila. He is currently one of the content producers of a Manila-based developmental website.

About

Melvin G. Calimag is currently the executive editor of an IT news website in the Philippines. Melvin has been covering the local IT beat for the last 13 years. He is currently a board member at the IT Journalists Association of the Philippines (CyberPress), and also serves as a charter member with the Philippine Science Journalists Associ... Full Bio

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