Both A/P Lim Sun Sun and Dr. Ingrid Hoofd were interviewed in a Straits Times article recently that questioned the impact of cybercampaigns on elections with Singapore’s upcoming General Elections.
All the academics interviewed felt that while the online battle was a worthy attempt, the socio-political context of Singapore and the nature of the Internet do not help political parties win the votes.
A/P Lim reasoned that unlike the US, Singapore’s electoral laws do not permit paid advertising of political parties and online fund-raising, so any online presence tends to be purely informational. Besides, ‘likes’ or ‘fans’ on Facebook speak little about people’s actual association with the groups in reality.
Dr. Hoofd pointed out that new and social media are narrow-casting technology that not only fails to reach everyone but creates a disconnection of individuals behind their own screens. In order to galvanise people, face-to-face discussions are still needed to build trust.