Experts say online posts growing in popularity due to community effect
YOUNG Singaporeans view posting on Internet websites, blogs and forums as effective as sending letters to local newspapers in getting their views on government policies heard.
Both were rated effective by 35 per cent of respondents.
Official channels such as writing to ministries, government agencies and Reach, the government unit for public feedback, were each viewed as effective by about a quarter of the respondents.
NUS sociologist Tan Ern Ser said that Internet-related channels could be rated highly because they give users the feeling that they are not alone and that they have easy access to a community of like-minded people.
He said: “Having the numbers may convey a sense of power, and in politics, possessing power obviously matters.”
Singapore Management University (SMU) Assistant Professor Eugene Tan said the Internet may be preferred for “its ubiquity, accessibility, immediacy, potential viral effect and an indeterminate audience makes it appear to be a powerful medium to be heard and to elicit a response from the authorities”.
He added that “the reality may be quite the opposite”.
But he said that if the young prefer to air their views on the Internet, then the political parties, especially the People’s Action Party, have to reconsider their feedback mechanism.
He said: “It suggests that the Government needs to relook the need to tweak perceptions on the effectiveness and efficacy of mainstream channels of communication on government policies such as Reach.
“They may even have to see how to improve the effectiveness of mainstream channels of communication between the people and the Government.
Otherwise, he said, valuable feedback may be lost.
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