Social Media such as facebook and twitter, are currently playing more roles among political parties in Thailand. They have been using the technologies to communicate with people as well as present their election campaigns. Social network users are in various age groups but those with electoralsignificance absolutely are those aged more than 18 years old.
Public Policies Research and Follow-up Centre Director Asst Prof Somchai Srisutthiyakorn elaborated that the online media is very efficient and can reach various groups of audience very fast and continuously while past records can be traced back with plenty of space to load information.
The director said the online media will be very influential in the future, when there are more people using the internet but not at the present time because the number of users remains limited, especially among rural people, accounting for less than 10% of the total population in Thailand. He admitted that social media consumers nonetheless cannot be overlooked as they are ready to disseminate information anytime and persuade their friends to think in the same way very easily.
According to the analysis of the academic, despite several advantages, a number of social media consumers are divisive and have limited perspective as they have their own online communities and will not welcome people with different viewpoints or will only open to those with similar opinions.
Asst Prof Somchai added that the online media can stimulate people to come out and vote to a certain extent and can influence voters’ decision. He however warned that credibility of information provided through online media is lower than that of television and radio because television and radiostations can be sued if they report inaccurate news, but it is more difficult to take legal action against online users.
In conclusion, although online information can spread as fast as fire and be supported by seemingly unlimited sources, people and online media consumers are cautioned to use their own judgement before jumping into believing the data received.