shalu wasu | Apr 02, 2011
Singapore is Facebook country! Almost half of the population is on Facebook. There are 2.4 million eligible voters (Singaporeans above 21) and there are more than 1.7 million people in Singapore above the age of 21 who use Facebook (some of these ‘resident Facebookers’ may not be Singapore citizens but the point still holds)
It was therefore expected that once the political parties had a green light to campaign using Social Media, it was only a matter of time before they realized the power of Facebook to connect with voters.
Will the use of Facebook and other elements of Social Media level the playing field for the opposition? Certainly, there is the potential for that to happen. Though the election campaigns are still ramping up, here is a useful compilation of interesting ways in which Facebook is being used in this election. All the numbers below are as of 1st of April.
With 11,450 fans it is the largest political party page in Singapore. The page is being regularly updated and has a lot of active engagement and healthy discussions. It is a fairly simple page though and has only one custom tab talking about the party beginnings. It might be extremely useful to add some features that allow the PAP leaders to answer fans’ questions directly and quickly, showcase videos, sign up for an email newsletter etc. The page also has links to all the other PAP fan pages (for nominees, constituencies and / or GRC’s)
The recently made famous Tin Pei Ling has 472 fans and the barest of fan pages, but it was started only on the 30th of March so it is early days for it still. Her posts have invited a lot of tough comments but she has chosen not to respond to them yet – a move that could backfire.
Mr Mah Bow Tan is one of the most Social Media savvy ministers but he missed a trick when he started using his personal profile to start connecting with people. Having now realized the 5,000 friends restriction on a Facebook personal profile, he has now created a Facebook page as well but it only has 158 fans as of now.
The second largest political page in Singapore with 3,345 fans. it is a fairly active page with multiple posts in a day. The page is very active and they are also seeking contributions to their election campaign right on the Facebook page through paypal!
The Reform Party Facebook page is not far behind with 2211 fans and considerable interaction. They seem to be getting a bit naughty though -by posting not too flattering comments about PAP leaders!
This page is not as active with only 900 fans and there are some people advising the SDA to give way to the Workers Party! They have interestingly used the ‘notes’ feature on Facebook as a blogging platform to clarify their views on various issues.
This page is neck and neck with the Reform party in terms of number of fans and the interaction. There are a lot of pictures and instead of asking for money, they are recruiting campaign volunteers through the page.
With 342 fans, it is a small page but has a lot of content and is frequently updated.
PAP mini pages
The PAP and a few other parties have also gone ahead and created pages for various candidates, constituencies and GRC’s. Though a move in the right direction, not much thought seems to have gone in to it with no common naming convention and many of the mini pages not being frequently updated. The main pages have links to all the ‘mini pages’
This is a well run page by the people behind singapore-elections.com and they claim to be the only non partisan platform and to their credit they seem to be covering updates from all parties!
None of the pages above have built in useful features like Q&A applications, interactive videos etc. but I am sure that as the parties realize the power of this medium the pages will be more professionally managed and will have features that will make the pages more useful. I have a feeling that this space will get very interesting very soon! I’ll be watching.
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