In the lead up to the local elections in 2010 I wrote a post about the use of social media by politicians in Taiwan. I noted how the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) was far more active online than its counterpart, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT).
I have gathered some data about the use of social media by the mayoral candidates in the five cities election (五都選舉) taking place on 27 November. All candidates are using several forms of online communication as part of their campaign. This includes websites, blogs, Plurk, YouTube, flickr and Facebook. Links to these sites are clearly shown on the front page of the KMT and DPP websites. This is shown in the two screenshots in this post.
I have collated data about the number of followers the candidates have on Plurk and Facebook. These two websites are popular in Taiwan and the number of followers is a good indicator of the level of online engagement by the candidate. Twitter is yet to become widely popular in Taiwan. A few candidates have Twitter accounts, but these are usually just reposting from Plurk or Facebook.
|Candidate (Party)||City||Facebook likes||Plurk friends & fans|
|Yang Chiu-hsing (Ind.)||Kaohsiung||5,076||n/a|
|Chen Chu (DPP)||Kaohsiung||51,798||1,670|
|Huang Chao-shun (KMT)||Kaohsiung||7,638*||347|
|William Lai (DPP)||Tainan||8,156||n/a|
|Kuo Tien-tsai (KMT)||Tainan||3,482*||89|
|Su Jia-chyuan (DPP)||Taichung||20,550||943|
|Jason Hu (KMT)||Taichung||6,126*||150|
|Tsai Ing-wen (DPP)||Xinbei||61,830||3,003|
|Eric Chu (KMT)||Xinbei||13,745||n/a|
|Su Tseng-chang (DPP)||Taipei||96,369||19,830|
|Hau Lung-bin (KMT)||Taipei||10,634*||2653|
*Combined total of two Facebook pages.
It is clear the DPP candidates are ahead of the KMT candidates by a wide margin. A few tentative conclusions can be drawn from this relatively small dataset. I think a key point is that the DPP has more active supporters who are young and internet users. The DPP’s Hsiao Bi-khim in an interview posted on this blog said, “Young people, according to polls, favour our party over the others by a two to one margin which is very good. Unfortunately the young people are not reliable because their voter turnout is low. Only about 30% of the young people come out to vote.” I also recently wrote about the DPP’s efforts to promote the youth vote.
Another factor could be the budgets the two parties have to fund their campaigns. The DPP puts a significant amount of resources into its online campaign activities. This may be because it is cheaper and more cost effective than other forms of advertising. The KMT has more financial resources and may spend more on advertising in television and newspapers.
This is a topic that could be investigated further in a more in depth study. I have also posted some more information on my other blog with links to the candidates’ Plurk and Facebook sites and the raw data in a spreadsheet.