The internet and mobile technologies in election campaigns: The Gabriela women's party during the 2007 Philippine elections

Kavita Karan, Jacques D.M. Gimeno, Edson Tandoc

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

New mobile communication technologies are gaining popularity in the study of political communication, as political actors across the world exploit their applications in the hope of affecting voting behavior. Social networking sites such as Facebook, YouTube, and Friendster have provided interesting and effective uses for political communication, and these trends are now migrating from the West to Asia. The 2007 midterm elections in the Philippines, conducted against a backdrop of violence and extrajudicial killings, generated intense international interest. In a historic development, the General Assembly Binding Women for Reforms, Integrity, Equality, Leadership, and Action (GABRIELA), the largest women's organization in the Philippines, won two legislative seats through its GABRIELA Women's Party (GWP). GABRIELA also secured the most votes in the overseas absentee voting system. The party's win marks a major reference point for women in politics. It symbolizes the growing power of Asian women and provides an illustration of the use of new media technologies for electoral campaigning. This study explores the GWP through a case study method and in-depth interviews (see the Appendix). As the party's limited funds restricted its use of mainstream media advertising during the elections, the GWP turned to Internet and mobile technologies. As a new entrant to the use of these technologies, the GWP was not able to maximize the potential of the Internet in its campaign, yet the party was able to make effective use of mobile phones to reach voters. The Internet and mobile media should not be seen as a replacement for traditional campaign strategies, but rather as integral parts of a holistic political communication network. While the Internet may complement the use of traditional media and grassroots campaigning, as it enables campaigns to reach a growing segment of the online population, the mobile phone deserves greater attention as a tool of personal communication with the electorate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)326-339
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Information Technology and Politics
Volume6
Issue number3-4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2009

Keywords

  • Elections
  • Gabriela
  • Mobile technologies
  • Philippines
  • Social networking

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