With its proliferation, I was critical of the positive assessment of social media, and argued that the “tangible influence of social media in politics will only be evident if they dabble in meaningful socio-economic commentary”.
Read “Hard To Ascertain Social Media Influence In Politics” (a version of the article was also published in The Straits Times), and here’s a short excerpt:
“Social media may have increased propinquity between politicians and their constituents – heightening that sense of nearness and immediacy – but that does not necessarily guarantee “dialogic communication” or a “cooperative and communicative relationship” (ST, Jun. 20). After all, such phenomena seem more applicable for personal interactions, not parliamentarians with a large following. More broadly speaking, it is hard to ascertain the influence of social media in politics, and even harder to determine whether social media engagement has tangible impact: to “legitimise government decisions, promote a co-sharing of the ownership for shaping policies, [or] increase citizen trust”. Neither have they been able to “navigate online clutter and make sense of the information and signals they are sent”.
I enjoy the occasional social media post from our ministers or members of parliament, as I do when I scroll through most Facebook timelines or Twitter feeds. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong snaps nice photographs on his excursions around Singapore. The “A Day in the Life of a Minister” video featuring Foreign Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam offered a unique glimpse into his exhausting daily routine. Most politicians – including those in the opposition parties – are also eager to share interactions with residents or their grassroots work, to show their connections to the people.”