Why Singapore’s General Election Isn’t Meant To Be Labeled As “Not An Internet Election”

This, from today’s article by Channel NewsAsia:

Singapore’s recent General Election (GE) was viewed by some as an “Internet election”, but a joint survey by the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) and the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) suggests this may not be the case.

The survey of 2,000 respondents was conducted two weeks after the May election and sought to find out the extent to which new media sites such as Facebook and blogs influenced votes.

The survey found media consumption remained centred on traditional media such as television, newspapers and radio, with only about 30 per cent of respondents also looking at new media sites for election news during the GE period.

Traditional media were cited as being more trustworthy sources of news, ahead of alternative sites and even websites of political parties.

This is why the IPS and NTU don’t get it.

Was Singapore’s general election a watershed election? Let’s not get too far with that phrase. Social media was prominent and political parties used that widely but media is still media, full stop. It wasn’t the “social media elections” because no one uses social media exclusively.

There is no need to separate traditional media from new media, because people don’t do that. I don’t say, “Okay, I’ll only look at Twitter for news today”. We use all types of media and each one has a purpose. Social media helps in immediacy, online & broadcast media delivers context and content, print media develops “front-page” meaty features.

Think about it: Social media definitely cannot carry a story about a politician’s diary of his adventures during his campaign trail as well as your daily newspaper. 140 characters doesn’t explain a lot. (But stringing tweets & Facebook updates into a feature story can.)

So, why are we making a fuss about separating media? It is an ecosystem: one cannot do without the other.

Case-in-point: I post tweets for Popspoken based on the stories I see online, the press releases I get via email, the events I go to (or view their online livestreams), the TV shows and movies that are currently on โ€“ and then digest them into one online article.

People get all too caught up with labeling and surveys fill that human need all too well. The Internet had impacts, that’s for sure, but in the end, information is everywhere. Unless the information on a content medium does not fit it, that outlet will not be irrelevant.

I’d say Singapore’s 2011 general election was “the election of information”. Because now, more than ever, information is all around us. And it’s about to get more accessible and more abundant.

I don’t think we need a survey for that, don’t you think so? ๐Ÿ˜‰

View the original article here:

P.S. This part of the article had me up in arms:

Commenting on this, Institute of Policy Studies deputy director Arun Mahizhnan said: “We can see the trajectory of an increasing role for the Internet or new media.

“But because of the overwhelming impact of the old media — the traditional media — we have to acknowledge that it still holds sway.”

Everything holds sway and influence. This sounds like an all-too-eager attempt to see which media holds more power and then concentrate more effort and attention there. Honesty comes in a collective whole: if one treats each media no less seriously than the other, a collective “sway” will be more sincere and powerful than focusing efforts towards any one outlet.


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