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DPP beats KMT in social media campaign

Screenshot of DPP website

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).

Screenshot of KMT website

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 Posterous blog with links to the candidates’ Plurk and Facebook sites and the raw data in a spreadsheet.

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File next to:
Politics and social media in Taiwan
Hsiao Bi-Khim on the election campaign
New report on independent media
Taiwan’s English-language media gets more digital
New media in Taiwan


Comment from Tim Maddog
Time 19 November 2010 at 3:58 pm

Interesting point: Taichung’s “mayor-on-vacation” Jason Hu (胡志強) has a whopping 20 followers on his Twitter account.

Comment from Michael Turton
Time 21 November 2010 at 7:49 am

And don’t forget, the Taiwan blogosphere is green as well.

If only those numbers reflected the real state of affairs.

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