Online Political Engagement in Southeast Asia
Free Public Lecture
The Lab, Level 2 of the Digital Studio
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Digital Politics seminar series
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 often see online political participation peak as political parties launch full-scale social media campaigns in their contest to win the hearts and minds of voters. 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?
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), this seminar will argue that a pre-existing online and offline support base is crucial to the success of a political candidate’s social media campaign regardless of the candidate’s input. It 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.