Social Media & Youth in Politics

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EMBARGOED UNTIL DELIVERY CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY

Youth, New Media and Political  Y th N M di d P liti l Participation in the Election Trisha T. C. Lin
Assistant Professor, Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, Information Nanyang Technological University, Singapore Trishalin@ntu.edu.sg

Alice, Yah-Huei Hong YahProfessor, Fu Jen Catholic University, Taiwan Alicehong0323@gmail.com

GE2011: Watershed Election

PM said vote swing is because…  greater proportion of critical young voters  Out of 2.21 million voters in 2011 GE, about 25% of all voters are between ages of 21-35 (Singapore Elections Department 2011)

 proliferation of new media

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Models of digital youth’s  political participation
Engaged  vs. Disengaged

Dutiful Citizen
‐ obligation in political ‐ participation & voting,  ‐ participation in civil  society organisations

Actualising Citizen
‐ less government  obligation  ‐ no meaning in voting ‐ no tr st in mass no trust in mass  media 

(Coleman, 2008)

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Singapore Youths: DC or AC Type?
• Mixed views about whether they are more engaged  or more disengaged over the years or more disengaged over the years • Mixed phenomenon: – Increase in political parties’ youth membership
eg: PAP recruited 1,000 young members in 2009 and opposition parties  increased theirs by as much as 50% (Lim 2010)

– Tan, Chung & Zhang (2011):Singaporean youths are  generally more politically active than their older  counterparts, and are more active in the consumption of  political content primarily through online channels  – Doubts credibility of government and mass media 4

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Singapore Youths: AC Type
• Less obliged to vote The New Paper Survey

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Youth’s Media Use in Singapore:  The New Paper Survey Doubts credibility of government and mass media

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What do we want to find?
• Youth’s political participation & voting behaviour • Youth’s media use (Old & New): Youth s media use (Old & New): – How often? – How important? – How trustworthy? • Youth’s perceptions of new media & impact on voting • Youth’s perceived media control & impact on voting p p g • Youth’s political cynicism affect voting? • Demographics (age, gender, education) affect voting?

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How did we do it?
• Post GE2011 national telephone interview (May 2011) • 447 Singaporeans (aged 21‐34) out of 2 000 respondents 447 Singaporeans (aged 21‐34) out of 2,000 respondents 

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Young Citizens’ Political Participation in 2011 GE
Youth Attended political rallies Volunteered in political parties 30% 3.6% Total 23.6% 2.2% 5.9% 9.9% 9 9%

Wrote to the media,  7.5% government, or MP  Wrote on blogs, Facebook, or  28.2% Wrote on blogs, Facebook, or 28 2% Twitter Forward or share online content  by email, Facebook or Twitter 20.2%

9.9%
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Youth political participation
• Young Singaporeans increased their political engagement in  2011 GE • Offline political participation remains inactive (similar to the whole Offline political participation remains inactive (similar to the whole  population) – 30% attended >1 political rallies in 2011 GE (increased from previous  elections) ; 6.4% more than the whole sample – only 3.6% volunteered to assist political parties – 7.5% wrote to media or the government sector about election/politics. 

Online > offline

• New media had more pull factors to engage young citizens  p g g y g (more active than the whole population) – 28.2% wrote on blogs, Facebook or Twitter about 2011GE (much higher than 9.3% of the whole sample) – 20.2% forwarded or shared online content regarding 2011 GE via emails,  Facebook or tweets. (much higher than 9.9% of the whole sample) 10

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Young Citizens’ Voting Behavior

Opposition Refuse to  answer
43.6%
45.4% 10.8%

15.9%

26.2% 14.3%

PAP
27.0%

No voting

10.2%

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Young Citizens’ Political Cynicism Attitude % agreed Too many rules against  participating in political  50.2%...
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