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Social media as top campaign tool

14 April 2016

Apart from television advertisements, candidates for national positions in the 2016 elections have turned to social media as a powerful tool for both positive and negative campaigning.
They have hired full staff to promote various election propaganda in social network pages while others have a dedicated team to respond to comments or posts in social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the like.
Facebook appears to be the most popular, with official staff or supporters, or both of candidates having special pages for the presidential bid of Vice President Jejomar Binay, Senators Grace Poe, Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, and former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas.
Candidates for vice president like Senators Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Francis Escudero, Alan Peter Cayetano, Antonio Trillanes IV, and Representative Leni Robredo likewise have their own Facebook pages that churn out official statements, provincial visits and other campaign-related activities, including family get-togethers to show their private side.
Those with savvy public relations experience try to win political bloggers to their side to help promote their candidates in a subtle way.
Supporters of some candidates have gone to the extent of initiating social media polls as a promotional campaign, with Defensor-Santiago emerging as the most “liked” on Facebook reaching at least 3.2 million at one point and “followed” by 2.21 million on Twitter among the contenders for president. The feisty Defensor-Santiago has popularized a Facebook craze about “pick-up” lines that are oftentimes humorous.
She has been on the tail-end of surveys for preferred candidate for president by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) and Pulse Asia surveys, but she has been topping random polls in universities.

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