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tisdag 6 december 2011

The role of social media in elections

Last Sunday there were elections to parliament in Russia. I think it was first elections in Russia where social media played really important role.

First of all, waiting for mass cheatings and stuffings, people distributed information about any violations in social networks (mainly Facebook, Vkontakte, Twitter). On Sunday my feed on FB consisted only of videos, photos and links of violations during elections.
And at the same momemt main Russian TV channels said nothing about it.

In the end on Sunday and next Monday morning in social networks appeared first messages which invited to join protest meeting concerning unfair eletions which was planned for Monday evening. And again all information was distributed in social media only. Main platforms - Facebook, Vkontakte, Livejournal, Twitter (heshtags #чп #5дек #5dec)

On Monday evening about 7000 people came to the center of Moscow to protest against cheating and elections' results. And all of them were informed with the help of social media only! This is an example of video from the meeting:

An as I can see from my feeds on social networks protests are planning to go on on Tuesday's evening as well.

Of course, it is not a new revolution. The level of people's disagreement is not high enough. They don't have any clear requirements of suggestions. And there is no real alternative for current politicians.

But the important thing in this case is that even without any true information from main TV channels, social media have enough capabilities to gather several thousands of people! It is a good case for Russian politics ahead of president elections on spring'12.

3 kommentarer:

  1. That´s very interesting Olga! I´m thinking that political protesters have always found a way to spread the word and mobilize people, even before Facebook came along. Bu do you think this election has had even more people that before, just thanks to social media? You also mention that disagreement is not enough amongst the voters, neither there is a clear idea on what alternatives there are. Do you think social media could be use in Rusia to take a debate on those issues?

  2. Yes, I really think that the role of social media was extremely important during these elctions. I compare with previous elections (4 years ago) when social media weren't so popular in Russia, and can conclude that this year a really huge amount of information concerning elections circulated in social media and attracted users' attention and motivate them not only go and vote but also try to prevent cheatings.

    On the other hand, I don't believe social media cad be a platform for effective debates of Russion opposition parties and other people who desagree with the situation. In this situation, social media are quite good in spreading information, in motivating people to do something or not to do. But it is quite poor in debates, discussions, decision making etc.

  3. That is really interesting. Even though there might not be any clear "effects", it still is an important sign that there *is* room for documenting and distributing opinions other than those distributed by mass media.