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Social media ‘friends’ don’t help win elections

26 Mar
“The more social media we have, the more we think we’re connecting, yet we are really disconnecting from each other.” –JR
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By Alex P. Vidal
NEW YORK CITY — There was a joke that a popular politician in Iloilo in the Philippines lost in the 2016 local elections because he “campaigned” mostly in the social media instead of moving his butts to woo the votes personally in the barangays.
The politician, who maintained several Facebook accounts, miscalculated his “high” popularity rating.
He thought being popular in the social media was tantamount to instant victory in the election.
His Facebook account only had 5,000 “friends list” while the number of voters in his district was 313,112.
The former only massaged his ego, the latter were the ones who cast the actual votes that sealed his fate.
The politician, a smart aleck, ignored his partymates’ admonishment and allowed himself to be mesmerized by his admirers’ fallacy and dazzling Facebook comments foretelling his “landslide” victory for being a “good” and “deserving” candidate.
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It was too late when he realized he had been taken for a ride by the false prophets in his “friends list.”
After winding up second to the last in his district, he cursed his political party; he ended up a bitter and sore loser.
The next congressional elections in 2019 still won’t be about the number of “followers” or “friends” in the social media, it’s about the number of village chiefs or punong barangay that will support the candidates.
Local elections in the Philippines will continue to be decided by the degree of influence the candidates wield in the barangays or villages, considered as the smallest political units.
Those who have strong connections with the village chiefs usually wrap up the contest for mayor, congressman, and the the municipal, provincial, and city legislatures.
The village chiefs are the ones who have direct access to the voting populace.
Eighty percent of the candidates whose names are on the sample ballots being distributed in the villages are usually shoo-in in the winning column.
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We’ve noticed that some election wanna-bes at this early find it riveting to hammer away with the faults and imperfections of their prospective rivals in the next elections using the social media.
They believe that if they start to dig holes on their prospective rivals’ credibility and shatter their myth of invincibility earlier in the ballgame through the power and influence of the social media, it will be easier for them to deliver the knockout blow during the campaign period.
Those who usually initiate the aggressive offensive blitzkrieg are wanna-bes with low name-recall ratings, or those who belong to inferior or ragtag political parties.
But even if they succeed in portraying their prospective rivals as wicked men and women in the social media, this won’t give them any assurance of sure victory when they tangle during the official electoral contest.

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Posted by on March 26, 2018 in ELECTION, POLITICS

 

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