It becomes a massive gap of the upcoming election after the Office of The Election Committee of Thailand (ECT) allows political parties to use social media for public relations without limitation.
In the past, political parties were restricted using media such as television, radios, newspaper with determining how much they can or even the poll survey. But this time, the authorized person has opened such a big space for candidates to introduce themselves.
We have to accept that many people have seen the influence of the social networks. Basically, Barak Obama, US president used this kind of public relations penetrating teenagers effectively along with receiving a large amount of donation from the technology. Meanwhile, in Thailand, many people have seen various-color mobs which are occurred from the aggregation of Cyber-Network people. This was a successful event in Thai political history seeing that people joined fighting with the red-shirt troop over 100,000 people who desired the parliament to dissolve.
The upcoming election is the first time that Thailand is influenced by the Social Network Fever. Certainly, this kind of media would influence the attitudes of many people. It’s noticeable that Channel 3 has succeeded the Project of Young Generation with Public Relations’ minds through the social networks. So it’s no need to wonder why political parties have improved their PR strategies on IT. New generation at 18 – late 30 of age have their lifestyles related to technology especially the social networks. So they become important base for campaign and PR.
Beginning with the ancient party, Democrat Party has been conservative so it did not emphasize on PR. This caused Thai Rak Thai Party and People Power Party to defeat it for 3 times. After the pain of getting defeated on points; this time the ancient party finds strategies on PR seriously by using social network media – Mr. Apirak Gosayothin, former governor of Bangkok who is experienced big corporation administration is the leader of this function.
The beginning project that has been already opened is “Future Thai Leaders”. The expectation of use of social networks is to stimulate people’s attentions about politics, and the important thing is to extend the party lists. Now, the democrat party has 172 members of parliament. Some parts like the north, northeast and center don’t have members of parliament. Hence, the political parties have strategies to look for new candidates who have political ideals.
As Apirak said in the press conference, there were 255 people passing the selection. They were facebook or twitter users. Some of them used to post comments about politics. This channel grants opportunities for people to share their opinion on what they want to join resolving nation’s problems; however in the past, those wished to be candidates must have experiences and reputation.
Today, 255 people come joining the democrat network, they are allowed to express their opinions. We don’t have any regulation or contract to obligate them not to this not to do that. We just suggest them to express opinions appropriately and reasonably.
At presents, Thailand is the third fast-growing country of social network users. So the strategists must improve overall social media of the democrat party.
Back to the PR expertise like Pheu Thai Party, it’s sure that the network parties of Thaksin Shinnawatra are the pioneers of truly bringing technology to PR process since Thai Rak Thai Party and People Power Party – they broadcasted via TV and display on websites.
This time, even though, it becomes Pheu Thai Party but the strategies on PR with the use of technology is still important. Mr. Prompong Nopparit, spokesperson of Pheu Thai Party explained that social network system is an interesting channel because those aged over 18 who are able to elect can be interested in politics by following on internet like Facebook, Twitter or websites.
Anyway, the PR must comply with the regulations of ECT because doing anything must not be opposite to the act of legislation.
In United States, they are open widely for PR. If our country open like that, it would be good because people can access information, news and works of each party, and it can assure electors if they will elect.
“I think social network is the way for people to express their opinions, suggest, comment and examine how much parties can follow their policies – I think this is very useful. Pheu Thai Party is like a father of communication and also the model in social network to communicate with people. We would like to confirm that our party is more ready than others.
We’ve already seen the movement of 2 big political parties. You don’t have to wonder why in the future you will be able to see small parties campaign and introduce with technology. Besides, there’s no limitation, it can also save expenses and attract a lot of teenagers too.
Although many parties extend their networks by social networks seriously, the question still comes up in minds whether it can efficiently attract people.
In this matter, Assist. Prof. Pichitra Supasawatkul, lecturer of the Faculty of Communication Arts, Chulalongkorn University expressed that the social network systems may not impact much because the parties and politicians are well-known so the new media will not affect much.
In the case that many people think that new media are more advantage than old ones such as TV, radio, newspapers because the new one is beyond the control of ECT. Assist. Prof. Pichitra also said that this is not the important issue; although new media come out with freedom. Some contents are still limited.
Miss Piyaporn Umpanprem, 1st year student from the Faculty of Liberal Arts, Rajamangala University of Technology Thanyaburi (RMUTT) is going to have a right for election for the first time. She is interested in technology very much but not much in politics, but social network system which displays short messages can attract her to read.
On the other hand, Miss Suchada Jaichuen, an employee in a private company said internet destroys the credit of the competitors. Sometimes, people may misunderstand because someone may disguise to be another one. Today it’s easy for children, teenagers and adults to surf the internet, so they need the discretion to judge what’s right or wrong.
Anyway, any political party that promised people to follow their policies, if they are not honest, or can’t accomplish policies, u may guess that they will elect that party again or not.
Translated by Mr. Amondech Inkaew