Will Twitter really influence 2016 election Outcome?
Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago said she believes the outcome of the 2016 National Elections will be greatly influenced by social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.
In a speech addressed to students of Assumption College in Makati City yesterday, the senator said social media can remove power from rich politicians as anyone can now start a debate to expose the truth online.
She added that social media is a venue for people to share their experiences, allowing ‘netizens … to beat the candidates with unexplained wealth and their criminal campaign contributors.
‘Today, social media has changed the rules of the game. There will be less rallies and motorcades.’
The power of social media in the Philippines has earned global recognition in 2011 when the country was named the social media capital of the world by financial blog 24/7 Wall Street. Twitter and Facebook also directly influenced the political scene last year, as a single status message successfully led to a massive rally that called for the abolition of the pork barrel system.
However, the senator’s opinion is very much open to debate as not everyone in the country has a social media account. The percentage of Filipinos who have access to the Internet is also lagging behind many other countries — as of 2013 data by the World Bank, Internet penetration in the Philippines is still at 36.2%, behind its neighbours Malaysia (65.8%), Hong Kong (72.8%) and Singapore (74.2%).
So far, the numbers say social media has the power to influence the opinions of only those who have Internet access. But Senator Miriam is positive that the youth can make a difference to traditional politics as early as now by ‘[fighting] back against social evils] through social media:
‘Weaponise social media. Fire up your Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, and Instagram accounts on demanding social change. Learn to [create social media content]. This way, you will be more equipped in creating riveting content that will arouse, organise, and mobilise the masses.’
What do you think? Would it or would it not influence the 2016 election outcome. Share your thoughts at the comment box below.