INDEED the rise of technology that gives birth to social media is clearly the game changer in the way election campaigns are being conducted in the Philippines and in all other countries in the world these days.
The various platforms offered by social media as means of vehicles in reaching out to the intended targets of certain messages are not only less expensive for the candidates but can also be manipulated in accordance with the desired result of the sponsoring candidates. All it takes is the exceptional savvy of the commissioned IT experts and of course the financial resources needed to make the skilled personalities work in one’s favor.
In the Philippines for example, it is worth watching how the social media enthusiasts who are backing certain presidential and vice presidential tandems, or those IT experts being commissioned by the aspirants, are banding around their skills competing in deceiving the people by making it appear that this and that teams rally or motorcade crowds are in that massive level.
The teams’ propagandists are also using social media in either portraying how devilish is one candidate and singing praises to high heavens for their patrons so he or they would appear as saintly as possible to the voting public.
More clearly social media now is becoming the more potent weapon in destroying the person of any political aspirant as unlike the mainstream media it can capture events and report them to the people rightly or wrongly, deliberate or unintentional if only to please the sponsors and make them believe that what is captured or delivered in the social media is worth the money the candidates spend for the same purpose. And usually the dissemination is done in real time.
Now playing an important support role in giving certain Presidential and Vice Presidential tandem in making their rally or caravan crowds easily manipulated to influence the perception of people as to the supposed strength of a tandem are the drone-mounted cameras getting pictures of the crowd. Drone installed cameras can be positioned in a manner that when it makes a shot, the vacant spaces in the outcome will allow technology to fill in the gaps with images as if they are occupying the actual vacancies.
These manipulated images are immediately posted in the social media platforms and when seen by the untrained eyes become influencing factors in the mindset of those still with unfixed supported candidates.
But of course that is how political battles are fought and won or lost in the country. Pity those presidential and vice presidential tandems that do not have the resources and the organized manpower with the technical skills to develop and mount a war with the social media as the battlefield.
They’d be at the mercy of those teams who have cornered the services of the people with IT skills and allotted for themselves a huge portion of the social media platforms.
But of course the winners in the forthcoming May 9 national and local elections can only be partly predicted by the social media inputs. The real successful aspirants will definitely be known when the final vote is counted and the winners officially proclaimed.
By then also, the use of social media as the new battle ground can be assumed either effective or only perceived.
This is the sad thing about Philippine politics both at the national and the local levels.
We are referring to the perennial commitment of aspiring candidates to put a stop or supposedly their abhorrence to the perpetuation of political dynasty. Many aspirants express their desire to end dynastic rule. But when they get elected they forget all about their promise related to the political dynasty.
Even at the local level curbing the dynasty is impossible. One example is when we have interviewed several councilors who were just half through their first term. They expressly told us they would never seek reelection as being a public servant in such a capacity is not only affecting their family relations but a resource draining responsibility. But when election time comes, most first termers are usually the first to troop to the Commission on Elections to file their reelection bid.
And if these councilors succeed in getting through their third term we discover they are either bringing their mother, father, spouse, son or daughter every time they go to visit their district’s constituents. And they introduce them as their successor-in-waiting.
So, what support for a national desire to do away with political dynasties are they talking about?
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