Byline: Bianca Consunji
SIX YEARS AGO, during the 2004 presidential elections, social networks were just getting started. Add me on Friendster was the catchphrase of the day (saying that now equals social suicide) and Facebook and Twitter were concepts that hadnt even been dreamed of yet.
But by the time 2008 rolled around and social networks had gained considerable momentum, Barack Obama astounded the world with a new approach to political campaigningone that leaned heavily on the Internet and could be mobilized with a few clicks.
The use of the Internet made his campaigns slogan, Change we can believe in, more believable because the medium allowed voters (particularly the youth) to interact with Obama. Thanks to regular updates on his website, Facebook and Twitter pages, it was easier to gain access to information and feel connected with the young presidential aspirant.
The Internet also made it easier for supporters to fund his campaign. Roughly half of his campaign fund came from online supporters.
From there, the world followed suit, although few were able to replicate Obamas success with social networking. This was primarily due to the fact that few countries around the world are as well-equipped as the US in terms of technology and access to it.
However, even developing countries in Africa and Asia have embraced the Internet as a means to campaign for their candidates.
In the Philippines, where social networking sites not only thrive but consistently top usage statistics, it was …