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Social Media Made New Voting Culture in Korea

On April 11, the day of the election for the national assembly, encouragement for voting through social media was highly boomed than ever before. Starting this year, encouragement for voting through social media on a voting day became legal. As a result, posting encouragement message for voting or uploading photos of voters themselves on the spot became a fad to not only politicians but also celebrities and citizens. Especially, encouragement from celebrities through social media formed new culture with their high influences on public.

According to National Election Commission, voting rate of this election has been increased by 8.2% compared to the last election. (from 46.1% to 54.3%) Voting rate rapidly increased particularly in the afternoon with a lot of photo uploading of SNS users on the polling location. One of outcomes of this phenomenon is that now citizens are more freely talking about politics and encourage voting through SNS. The power of social media brought friendly atmosphere around ‘vote’ which was the heavy subject before.

However, social media fad in election also brought negative impacts too. In this election, social media also used to spread misleading information and allegations of some candidates. Social users Retweeted these messages quickly without checking the truth.

In summary, social media was actively used during this election and it helped to increase voting rate of the younger generation. This new culture contributed to generate new perception that election is the thing that everyone should participate in. As citizens participate more in politics through SNS, I think politicians should use SNS not only for promoting their political campaigns but also for listening carefully about what people think.