Bringing the Election Experience to the Digital Sphere

From twibbons to creative taglines, the Filipino youth assembled for their presidential election through digital campaigns and platforms.

The evolution of social channels like Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook is shifting from merely facilitating networks and entertainment among friends online to becoming a powerful political tool.

One of the most momentous development happened during the 2008 American presidential election, when Barack Obama, the Democratic presidential candidate, revolutionized campaigning by using social media strategy in his campaigns. He used Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, Twitter, and even a handful of niche websites (that are gone now) to surpass traditional media, connect directly with supporters, and fight smear campaigns going around on social networks.

Now, the public has grown accustomed to using these social media channels to have civic discussions and kickstart empowerment campaigns online. Oh, and online-exclusive political discourse, too (you know which ones).

As a result, people are getting creative at using the platforms. Especially considering that they can now engage directly with politicians, civic officials, to government agencies whereas before they were reserved to mostly one-way interactions via broadcasts, billboards, and newspapers.

Like, can you imagine having an online beef with government officials?

Yep, it shows how the democracy of the digital sphere has fundamentally transformed from our perspective to politics.

Politics, Campaigns, and Twibbonize

This year’s presidential election was a critical one for the Philippines.

Held on May 9, 2022, ten candidates were competing to replace their former president, Rodrigo Duterte. But only two among them grabbed the spotlight: Leni Robredo and Ferdinand Marcos Jr, popularly known as “Bongbong”. The election was tight and full of online public discussions and discourse to convey messages and mobilize voters on social platforms.

The rising political tide made its way to Twibbonize too, where people creatively created campaigns to support the two main candidates. These two, in particular, gained a significant number of supporters:

The “Leni-Kiko 2022” campaign, identifiable through the use of the pink color and roses, was created by Japet Peña and has gained 4.2M supporters today (09/20/2022):

On the opposing side, Bongbong and Sara Duterte supporters created “BBM-SARA UNITEAM SUPPORTERS” campaign with four picture frames colored in red and green. Created by Jeff Uson, the campaign has gained 1.6M supporters ever since it was uploaded on the platform:

Incorporating pop culture

The “Leni-Kiko” campaigns in particular were an interesting showing of unity, where a variety of communities came together to create a diverse collection of twibbons. Many among them were youngsters involved in fandoms, engaging in discussions and sharing messages within their social networks online. So unsurprisingly, they incorporated elements of their favorite pop culture items into their support.

Alongside twibbon campaigns, taglines like “BTS Namjoon and Leni Robredo are my favorite leaders” and “Swifties for Leni” were everywhere, while some of MNLoves (MNL48’s fandom) have also tried the same method to support the other candidate, Leody de Guzman, in their tweets. All in all, supporters found ways to create a personal attachment to their favorite candidates and make the campaign’s scope even wider, especially among youths.

This pop culture element united people by becoming the common ground on which a community is built and in turn used to mobilize for change, familiarizing them with the ongoing political discourse. From making K-pop-themed twibbons to using fan lightsticks during offline events, it was a strong example of how online campaigns can have real-life impacts—even if the result didn’t turn out as hoped by Leni-Kiko’s supporters.

Start your own

So, it is safe to say that bringing the traditional election experience to the digital sphere becomes essential.

Just like what Obama and the pop culture communities in the Philippines did with their new ways of campaigning, you can also explore Twibbonize to explore ways to innovate your campaigns and movements!

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