With just days to Taiwan’s elections, the presidential race is heating up online. All three parties are putting everything they have into the battle to win young voters, with Facebook, Line and Instagram as the three key theatres of engagement. Eric Chu from the Kuomintang (KMT) and James Soong from the People First Party (PFP) are both using social media to get their message out to the electorate. Chu’s Facebook page not only carries his campaign commercials, it also features short videos and cartoons to illustrate his policies. And his latest video has roused the curiosity of many netizens. “The video has no sound, but you can see a ray of light moving across the chairman’s forehead over and over,” said Hsu Chiao-Hsin, spokeswoman for KMT’s presidential campaign. “It quickly got many netizens talking, asking why is his forehead shining with light? What does it mean? Many people are curious.”
The oldest among the three candidates, PFP’s Soong has also taken to the online space and is using Facebook to promote his campaign activities.
All these social media strategies are aimed at engaging young voters, who are increasingly relying on the internet as their primary source of information. A recent survey by Shih Hsin University showed more than 70 per cent of college students get their news from the internet, while only 20 per cent rely on television.