Personal Democracy Plus Our premium content network. LEARN MORE You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

In Bangkok Governor's Race, Social Media Acts as a Populist Poll

BY Julia Wetherell | Friday, February 22 2013

Gubernatorial candidate Suharit Siamwalla (from: ZocialEye)

Bangkok residents will elect a new governor on March 3. This election cycle, more Thai voters are getting their information about candidates from social media than ever before. Could observing the chatter around the elections replace traditional polling methods, as a means of predicting the outcome of the elections?

A new online platform that displays social media metrics for each candidate in a user-friendly fashion could change the face of polling. Earlier this week, Thailand's The Nation newspaper reported on a Bangkok elections platform built with the social media monitoring system ZocialEye.

Aggregating data from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Web Board, the site displays updating information about mentions the candidates are receiving across the web. 

The homepage currently displays the four most popular candidates on social media, including leading contenders Sukhumbhand Paribatra, the incumbent, and Pongsapat Pongcharoen, the nominee from the Pheu Thai Party.  The socially sourced nature of the campaign can perhaps account for the fact that Suharit Siamwalla, a popular electronic dance musician who is also running for the office, is also featured on the front page. 

Yet that’s the beauty of these kinds of platforms – by streaming in social media data, they reflect the unfiltered opinion of the public. As Wittaya Jangkobwattana, one independent candidate in the election, told the Nation, social media metrics “are more reliable than polls. They can be verified.”  Taking polling out the hands of third parties reflects a more realistic public opinion – one that could show at the polls in two weeks. 

Personal Democracy Media is grateful to the Omidyar Network for its generous support of techPresident's WeGov section.

News Briefs

RSS Feed today >

First POST: Outgassing

How Beijing is throttling expressions of solidarity with the Hong Kong democracy protests; is the DCCC going overboard with its online fundraising tactics?; SumOfUs's innovative new engagement metric; and much, much more. GO

tuesday >

With Vision of Internet Magna Carta, Web We Want Campaign Aims To Go Beyond Protest Mode

On Saturday, Tim Berners-Lee reiterated his call for an Internet Magna Carta to ensure the independence and openness of the World Wide Web and protection of user privacy. His remarks were part of the opening of the Web We Want Festival at the Southbank Centre in London, which the Web We Want campaign envisioned as only the start of a year long international process underlying his call to formulate concrete visions for the open web of the future, going beyond protests and the usual advocacy groups. GO

First POST: Lifestyles

Google's CEO on "work-life balance"; how CloudFlare just doubled the size of the encrypted web; Dems like Twitter; Reps like Pinterest; and much, much more. GO

monday >

First POST: Showdown

How demonstrators in Hong Kong are using mobile tech to route around government control; will the news penetrate mainland China?; dueling spin from Dems and Reps on which party's tech efforts will matter more in November; and much, much more. GO

friday >

Pirate MEP Crowdsources Internet Policy Questions For Designated EU Commissioners

While the Pirate Party within Germany was facing internal disputes over the last week, the German Pirate Party member in the European Parliament, Julia Reda, is seeking to make the European Commission appointment process more transparent by crowdsourcing questions for the designated Commissioner for Digital Economy & Society and the designated Vice President for the Digital Single Market. GO

First POST: Dogfood

What ethical social networking might look like; can the iPhone promise more privacy?; how Obama did on transparency; and much, much more. GO

thursday >

First POST: Sucks

How the FCC can't communicate; tech is getting more political; Facebook might see a lawsuit for its mood manipulation experiment; and much, much more. GO

More