Who"s davidlian?

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davidlian is an ultra-geeky chinese dude that works for a technology PR agency. He loves fiddling with techno-toys, plays Warhammer 40K, and shoots pictures wherever he goes. Here, he rants about PR, Technology and anything else. Don't expect balance and un-biased, he ain't no journalist. Anything said on this blog are solely davidlian's personal views. Don't confuse them with company mantra, client's views or views of any organisation he may be part of.


Saturday, March 8, 2008

'Alternative media' shakes up elections

This year's elections have proved to be a real eye-opener. Not just from a political viewpoint (of which I am less than qualified to comment) but from a pure technology-communication point-of-view.

As I type, I'm watching TV3 and watching the two hosts (whose names I can't get) discuss how 'teknologi moden' (modern technology) has played such an important role in this year's electoral race. The MalaysianInsider named 'Alternative Media' one of the big winners in this year's elections. Right now, I'm refreshing at least four newssites and blogs, monitoring RSS feeds for another dozen or so, and chatting with friends as real-time results are coming in.

Redundant to say, I know, but news travels so much faster these days.

The guy on TV is now commenting that it's been the government's goal and desire to push the proliferation of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), with a tongue-in-cheek remark that parties should plan their communications strategies taking into consideration blogs, SMSes and the Internet in the next elections. Well, some have already and reaped the results with glee.

Yes, people, this election isn't just about an alternative front. It's also about alternative media. If there's one event in any given country that highlights the coming of age of the internet (and not just the internet, but also other forms of techno-communication) it's got to be the elections.

I've written in admiration of the clever Obama campaign. Also, about the giant strides forward some traditional media institutions have taken to putting the elections online. The blogosphere is abuzz with sites and every other personal blog shares a personal opinion about the elections.

The oft-overlooked attribute about this 'new media' or 'alternative media' is the feedback mechanisms that are so richly embedded into the system. Yes, these are great ways of disseminating information and pushing your political agenda. But it's also probably one of the best ways to just listen.

MalaysianInsider applauded DAP for having its pulse on what the Malaysian Voter was concerned with and it's probably no surprise that this same party that has achieved (as of now) a record performance of its own also boasts perhaps the strongest links with the blogosphere and 'Alternative Media'. Jeff Ooi's blog is probably one of the most well-known political blogs, but you also have Lim Kit Siang, Teresa Kok and even my favourite, Jenice Lee, blogging.

And probably not just blogging, but reading other people's blogs. Because if you stopped to read, you'd see that just by reading a couple of personal blogs, you could get a sense of what the public sentiment is and what the key issues are. When your candidate responds to a comment you posted on his / her blog, I'd bet you'd feel that at the very least, you've been listened to.

So, in the next five years will we perhaps see every politician with their own blog? Well, if the answer is yes, then I'd be estatic. Because blogs are as close as you can get to hearing the truth of what a politician says short of attending a ceramah and hearing it yourself. Better still, blogs don't just disappear (unless you want to immediately discredit yourself).

If you want to know what Kit Siang is about, take some time, read through his blog. The moment he doesn't live up to what he talks about, vote him out. Either way, the blog makes him more and more accountable. Accountable because he himself has put what he wants to say in print (digitally, at least) for all to see. So he'd better make sure he does all he can to deliver on those promises.

Right now, my feeds are slowing down to a trickle and I can no longer get onto MalaysiaKini or MalaysianInsider. So maybe, for next elections, not just more blogs but more bandwidth?

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