Virtual Battle: Political clashes in social media

FEU Advocate
May 08, 2016 19:30

By Marissa Castro

Long before the real fight begins, the deafening shouts of the spectators, both the supporters and the oppositions, are already echoing inside the walls of what is called the virtual arena - social media.

Living in the modern era, opinions shoot up and break out almost every minute. From friendly chats to fuming rants, social media has become the platform for discourse and an instrument in engaging netizens. Surprisingly, when it comes to politics, social media becomes a bloody combat zone.

Cyber battleground

From savage bashing to intense bickering, the virtual world has turned into a hotspot for bluster and debate. Social media sites have become an outlet for expressing one’s sentiments, political views and beliefs that often contradict others’. It seems like politics is one of the hottest topics among internet users, especially now that the elections is fast-approaching.

From Facebook timelines to Twitter feeds, people always have a say. But oftentimes, one’s exercise of freedom of speech and one’s attempt for a friendly discussion turn into a fiery exchange of words.

Take for example the case of an environmental advocate Renee Karunungan who drowned in a sea of violent threats after voicing out her opinion about a presidential candidate on Facebook. Instead of sparking substantial and intellectual conversations among the Facebook users, quarrels and threats emerged from her simple post. She later filed cases against the cyber bullies who attacked her online.

Rolf Gian Marcos, a 2nd year BS Psychology student, believe that some do not think before they click saying, “Some Filipinos are known to be outspoken when it comes to delivering their own opinions and without enough knowledge, it causes such misunderstandings that intensifies rivalry of politicians.”

In expressing one’s opinion, an ample weight of responsibility is needed. It is not a mortal sin to be at odds with another person, however, respect should always be in the picture.

Empowered leagues

Notwithstanding the clashes in the battleground, alliances emerge from the ashes on the ground, forming leagues of netizens with similar political views. A fusion of harmony and respect tightens the bond of the group of diverse people, empowering their league.

Several netizens also show their support to the political candidate of their preference. They create campaign photos, graphics, informational videos, articles and even witty memes in favor of their bets.

John Norman A. Capote, an incoming 3rd year Tamaraw taking BSBA major in Internal Auditing, is making the most out of the social media in advocating for his presidential candidate - sharing the past accomplishments and platforms of his ideal leader.

“Almost everything is very modern nowadays unlike in the past elections. Social media plays an important role on the soft voters, those who can't still arbitrate or even visualize their leader. Like the most, I’m active on posting and supporting my candidate for the upcoming election. Social media fuels my trust and confidence that my bet is truly deserving in leading us to create a better Philippines,” Capote uttered.

Amidst diversity, many netizens are united in their advocacy through the aid of social media. Instead of defying the law and throwing mud to their rivals, there are still those who use social media not as a battleground but as a headquarters - a place to unite and empower their squad.

Building blocks

The strength of a fortress relies on its groundwork while the supremacy of a democratic country relies on the people- the voters. As a building block of this nation, the way social media affects every netizen molds not only their political views as well as the fate of this country.

As a platform for political discourse, social media contributes in enhancing and shaping the decision of the voters. With its accessibility, many netizens are able to share their opinions either to support or disprove another. Each post is powerful as it can influence other people’s way of thinking.

“Social media has the capacity to influence individual's perception when making decision on who are they going to vote. Usually, these info coming from web are factual yet some are fallacies. Some info can improve the image of a candidate while some info can destroy their reputation,” said Nikko F. Orduña, incoming 4th year BSBA Financial Management.

Social media is the quickest way to be informed and to be updated. Not only does information travel fast, it also has a strong impact on others.

As the building blocks of this land, the qualities of the voters are vital in determining the strength and the future of this country. The decision to be made by the netizens is shaped by their virtues as well as the way they perceived what they see on social media.

Filling the soon to be empty thrones is a milestone for this country. Social media is a useful vehicle to transform the public into an informed nation. Amidst the intense clashes online, social media turns out to be an ally in the battle of enlightening and enriching the wisdom of the voters before the real fight of the country- the upcoming election.