Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Singapore General Elections 2011: Not an Internet Election? Who are you kidding?

I read with great interest the recent findings of a joint survey by the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) and the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) that suggests that Singapore's recent General Election was not an "Internet election".

According to the survey, “media consumption remained centred on traditional media such as television, newspapers and radio, with only about 30 per cent of respondents also looking at new media sites for election news during the GE period” and “only about one in three said they got information through social websites, but their media diet included mainstream sources too.”

A closer look at the numbers surveyed would reveal that only 2,000 people were polled. With such a small sample size, I do not find the survey findings reliable. This skepticism is based on an extract from the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) 2011 survey on Internet and Mobile Phone Penetration Rates, published in The Straits Times on 9 July 2011. In that extract, it was reported that Mobile Phone (2G and 3G) penetration rate by population of 146.1%, Residential Wired Broadband penetration rate by households of 102.7% and Wireless Broadband penetration rate by population of 138.3%. With sure penetration into the lifestyles of Singaporeans, I find it counter-intuitive to say that the Internet did not play a major part in the election.

For example, as was highlighted by Mr Alex Au, who owns the "Yawning Bread" blog, the Internet allowed the raising of less well-known sentiments and, based on ground-swell, resulted in the mainstream media taking up the issues. Additionally, those 30% that obtained information from Social Media are likely to have shared their “discoveries” with family, friends and colleagues. Thus, the information from Social Media would have likely reached more people than the survey concluded.

I can only conclude from the survey numbers that, contrary to what the IPS and NTU wants us to think, this was indeed an Internet Election.

(If you can spare the time, I would appreciate if you can complete the following survey which I am conducting to determine the credibility level of wikipedia to new media users.


  1. Mostly people are connecting social media sites.This is the main reason that most of the people give their opinion in the side of social media.This is one of the modern technology and also providing latest information to you.This is the reason most of the people are connecting to the social sites.

  2. Thanks for the comment. Yes, indeed social media has become the main stream media. Thus, in my opinion, it is impossible to separate the Internet's impact on all that occurs in our daily lives. We are living in the world of the Internet and Social Media.

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