#ThinkPH: Internet can't get pols elected... yet
MANILA, Philippines – For candidates, social media presence doesn’t guarantee victory – at least, not yet.
The May 13 elections show this, Rappler executive editor and CEO Maria Ressa said Friday, August 23.
“We had enough clout that politicians couldn’t ignore it, but it wasn’t enough to get elected,” Ressa said during Rappler’s #ThinkPH summit on Friday.
The landscape could change, however, in 2016. That is after the Philippines achieves a 99% Internet penetration rate by 2015, as Science and Technology Secretary Mario Montejo promises.
“(If) we get 99% Internet penetration rate, it becomes a game changer in the way politics is done,” Ressa said.
Grace Poe’s case
Ressa noted an example of a candidate who “doesn’t have a strong social media footprint,” but ended up as the surprise frontrunner in the May 13 elections.
That was Grace Poe, who got the most number of votes – over 20,300,000, based on the final tally of the Commission on Elections (Comelec). Yet, her online footprint and engagement on Rappler's mood meter during its April senatorial debate was weak.
Despite the Internet’s limited reach, as of now at least, Ressa said the Internet has reached a point that will allow people to harness big data. “The change of scale leads to a change of state. This quantitative change actually leads to qualitative change.”
Ressa said big data, which flow from social media, “is inherently about predictions” and quoting other authors, says it involves 3 “major shifts in the way we think:"
- Ability to analyze vast amounts of data: N=all instead of random sampling
- As scale increases, so do inaccuracies. What we lose in inaccuracy at the micro level, we gain in insight at the macro level
- What, not why. Look for correlations, not causality.
Earlier on Friday, however, a US-based author lambasted the Internet as an “epic failure” that needs to become more accountable. – Rappler.com