Power of Social Media in Singapore Election 2011
Who is Nicole Seah? I supposed that the whole online community in Singapore knows about her.
Nicole Seah is just a 24-year-old Singaporean girl. But, she had once beat the number of Facebook fans of Singapore longest serving Prime Minister or Singapore Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew.
“By 9pm on Monday April 27, the 24-year-old opposition candidate had amassed 18,900 fans compared to Lee’s 54,000 fans. She had earlier that day overtaken previous runner-up Foreign Minister George Yeo’s 18,700 fans, despite the fact that he had a three-year head start.”
She is a girl who has gone from unknown advertising agency executive to the national spotlight as the country’s second-most popular politician after her campaign for the city’s Marine Parade GRC seat in the 2011 Singapore General Elections hits the online space through social media.
The main reason of her popularity is due to the use of social media to reach young voters, mostly Generation Y who are heavy social media network users.
Singapore politics has long been dominated by the People’s Action Party(PAP) which notoriously restricted criticism of government and discussion of politics. There were only few outlets exists for Singaporeans to read and express free views on the government.
In contrast, Seah has used the social media to communicate with the community. This gives the hope to the community that they will have more interactions with the government. She is giving herself a platform to connect with voters outsides the confines of Singapore’s media.
Social media serve to offer a breath of fresh air where comments is with less restrictions which during election time gives parties and politicians like Nicole Seah a platform to communicate directly with the public free of restrictions.
The opposition Singapore Democratic Party’s secretary-general Chee Soon Juan said social media would enable it to bypass pro-PAP newpapers and broadcasters in the very near future.
With Singapore Facebook population of 3 million larger than the voter pool of 2.35 million, there are many interactions among voters and politicians through Facebook. It is interesting to see how influential social media in the Singapore Election this year.