A recent survey conducted by Singapore’s Institute of Policy Studies, a think-tank within the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore, finds that the recent General Election 2011 wasn’t an “Internet Election”. Wow, that’s a surprise. Everyone was saying that GE2011 is an Internet Election with social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Blog playing important roles.
The survey suggest otherwise. So the curious me went to take a look at the detailed survey findings. And I found out the reason why on page 5. 2000 Singaporeans age 21 and above are surveyed. And 66% are 40 years and above.
There is actually no need to read all the way to the end of the survey to find out why GE2011 isn’t an Internet Election. The age group is a huge telling sign that the findings will show that GE2011 is not an Internet Election. It is no surprise that only 30% of the respondent use Facebook or/and Blogs for election information. (Page 13) But don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that the IPS rigged the survey. I’m very sure that IPS did the age proposition based on the Singapore population. The thing is, we do indeed have a older population and most of the older generations aren’t internet savvy.
And page 15 of the survey confirms that the 30% who use Internet for election information are mostly the younger generation. Most of us think that GE2011 is an Internet Election because we are surrounded by people who are also internet savvy. We didn’t realize that the percentage of non-internet savvy Singaporeans is greater.
Although the findings say that GE2011 wasn’t an Internet Election, it is still interesting to note the Media Importance and Media Trust findings.
It is interesting to note that people who use Facebook and Blogs generally finds that Facebook and Blogs are more important and trustworthy than those who don’t use this 2 platform. In fact, this group of people rank Facebook and Blogs pretty high. It is just slightly lower than mainstream media like TV and Newspaper. This shows that those who use the platform ranks it somewhere near mainstream media. To me, that is already a good sign for social media.
Actually, I’m curious to find out why the rest don’t find Facebook and Blogs important and trustworthy. Is it because they’ve tried it and find it not important and trustworthy or they don’t understand the platform. I guess it should be the latter.
But does it really matter if GE2011 is an Internet Election or not? Not really. Yes, maybe most of Singaporeans still rely on mainstream media for their election information. But that is mainly because the older generation aren’t internet savvy. What’s more important is that those who use the platform find that the platform is important and trustworthy. Besides, the younger generation will grow older and the percentage of internet savvy Singaporeans will naturally increase.
By the way, I was kinda surprised to find out that only 90.7% of the respondent have a mobile phone. (Page 8 ) Wow, and I thought almost all adult Singaporeans would have at least 1 mobile phone.