Southeast Asia is the most social media active region in the world yet our understanding of online political participation is still in its infancy. Elections times often see political participation online peak in most countries as political parties launch full-scale social media campaigns in their contest to win the hearts and minds of voters now increasingly spending time in cyberspace. How do political parties engage with social media users and what do users actually do online during election campaigns? What accounts for a successful social media campaign?
This talk is based on survey results and Facebook analysis of political engagement during the campaign periods of four elections in Southeast Asia: the Philippines (2016), Malaysia (2018), Thailand (2019) and Indonesia (2019). It argues that pre-existing online and offline support base is crucial to the success of a political candidate’s social media campaign regardless of candidate’s input. The talk will also touch upon the issues of online disinformation and trust in social media information and why they vary both within a country and across countries. Discussions relating to the pros and cons of conducting political research on social media data will also be raised.
About the Speaker
Dr Aim Sinpeng is a Lecturer in the Department of Government and International Relations at the University of Sydney. She is also the co-founder of the Sydney Cyber Security Network and the Thailand Coodinator of the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre. She has published widely on Thai politics and is currently working on a project on fake news and politics in Southeast Asia.