Social media has followed the rise of Davao City’s tough-talking mayor Rodrigo Duterte to the highest seat of the land. But how has this medium changed the political discourse, and how do the likes, retweets, and posts translate to solid support on the ground?
This Tuesday (September 27) at 7pm, the ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC), the country’s first 24/7 english all news channel, will tackle the social media war happening in the country in a special forum titled ANC Presents: “#DU30 Army: The President’s Social Media War,” to be moderated by Karen Davila and Christian Esguerra.
In the forum, Pompee La Vina, the director of President Duterte’s social media campaign, will share how 12 million volunteers helped keep Duterte trending online, day in and day out in the run-up to the May elections. He will clarify, however, that social media wasn’t a magic pill that carried Duterte to victory as he said they had a good brand to push, to begin with.
“Duterte’s character appealed to voters. While others focused on economic issues, he focused on the drug problem. And surveys show us drugs is the winning issue.”
La Viña will also reveal the sentiments of Duterte camp, who felt traditional media wasn’t giving them equal airtime, so they had no choice but to turn to social media– where they mobilized volunteers from the grassroots.
The Manila Times managing editor Felipe Salvosa will also explain how a “strong undercurrent of anti-establishment, anti-elite thinking among the electorate” also helped catapult Duterte to the presidency, similar to what has been seen all over the world, like for instance the Brexit vote.
Data Analyst and social media strategist Gary Viray meanwhile, will discuss how a brand like Duterte can only infect perspective, once it reaches a certain critical mass. He will also look into how to distinguish real social media users from trolls (paid, fake accounts) and bots (using automatic generating system). Viray said, while trolls and bots are easily bought, one cannot buy actual engagements online.
Social media activist Mae Paner, known online as Juana Change, will also speak up against rabid engagements with or by Duterte’s supporters.
“Bashing on social media has been very vicious. The mentality is “if you’re not with us, you’re against us,” she said.
The forum will also tackle real life experiences of journalists who have experienced online bashing for their work, as well as the psychology of hate messages posted online and how they snowball, and the honeymoon period between the President and the Press.
This is the seventh in a series of forums organized by ANC on important issues in society. Previously, it also mounted forums on Charter Change, Federalism, Transportation, Human Rights, PH-US Relations, and on how the media should cover President Duterte.
Don’t miss the discussion on Tuesday (Sept 27) at 7pm on ANC, the ABS-CBN News Channel.