(Related post - How the opposition can find their voice in traditional media)

In this 2011 General Elections, more members of the People’s Action Party are getting their feet wet in the realm of social media to reach out to the “younger” generation.

Already, it seems that it is no easy walk in the park as recent gaffes have highlighted how wet behind the ears are their experience in social media.

One example is that of Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong making a tongue in cheek comment of the new candidate Tin Peiling being “treated for trauma”, only to be taken seriously by traditional media. As a result, Senior Minister Goh had to explain his comment.

Another example is that of the handler of the @PAPSingapore Twitter account replying to a follower that she should join the PAP.SG Facebook Page so she can look at more photos of new candidate Tin Peiling. As senior members of the PAP are trying to build Tin Peiling as a credible candidate despite her age, the reply from @PAPSingapore simply enforces public’s opinion that Tin Peiling is just a pretty face among candidates.

Yet, the handlers of @PAPSingapore fail to see the severity of making such statements, but chose to put blame on social media experts tweeting that they are not serious enough.

Though there is this fine balance between being too friendly and too formal but handlers of the PAP social media account must be aware that every statement they make is fair game for both the media, bloggers and tweeters alike.

They say in person to person communication, body language contributes a high 80% of the communication as compared to the words used. Unfortunately, in the world of pixels, typed text do not display any emotions, unless stated with emoticons.

Any words, even under 140 characters, will be immediately be perceived as a official statement. That is why media called Tin Peiling when the Senior Minister said she was tramautised.

The People Action Party is also underutilizing the full potential of social media. Currently, the Facebook pages of these politicians in white contain nothing more than photos of their visits to various part of Singapore. Like as if we need to be reminded that politicians are only interested in the neighbourhood when it is time for elections.

More can be done. For example, the new candidates could use this new media platform to allow us, the social media generation, understand what their views are and how we can interact with them. We want to know the person we are voting into politics and not where the person visited during election times.

What strengths can these new candidates bring to strengthen the foundations of Singapore?

What areas are these candidates looking to do to bring forth improvement to the lives of Singaporean?

Social media is the best platform yet which these 4G (fourth generation) leaders can make use to show that they are using new platforms to reach out to new generation of audience.

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