Mudslinging on web focused on Villar, Aquino

By Beth Morrissey, Princeton-in-Asia Fellow, ABS-CBN News and Current Affairs

Posted at Mar 18 2010 06:06 PM | Updated as of Mar 22 2010 11:30 PM

Gordon has most 'positive posts'

MANILA, Philippines - Senator Benigno 'Noynoy' Aquino III and Senator Manny Villar are the presidential candidates in the 2010 elections that have generated the most mentions and posts on the Internet, according to a study released Wednesday by NetBooster Asia, an online marketing and advertising agency.

The study, which surveyed information about five presidential candidates, shows that the most online mudslinging and negative campaigning is posted by those Internet users discussing Villar and Aquino. The data from the survey indicates that Villar has generated the most negative sentiment online, closely followed by Aquino.

The study is a “snapshot” of social media behavior and trends, according to Marck Rimorin, Social Media Officer for Netbooster Asia. “The public should see the study as demonstrating the power of the internet,” said Rimorin, who led the team that conducted the study.

The study notes that “online sentiment for Villar was positive following the fallout from the C-5 investigation, but drowned out after he released a new TV commercial.”

Villar has the greatest post volume regardless of sentiment, according to the survey results. The study also shows that Aquino’s post volume started to rise after an incident between “The Buzz” co-hosts Kris Aquino and Ruffa Gutierrez.

According to the study, “the blogosphere, while initially hostile to Aquino because of the involvement of the Kris-Ruffa squabble, started praising him once again at the expense of Villar.”

Gordon has most positive posts online

Presidential candidate Richard Gordon has the most consistently positive posts online, according to the study. Although Gordon has a low volume of posts, the study shows he has almost zero negative posts.

The study also notes that administration candidate Gilbert Teodoro has the most consistent increase in posts with positive opinion.

Alexa, a third-party web application, was used in the study to rate the traffic on the official websites of the presidential candidates. Aquino’s official website is ranked the highest, followed by Villar and Teodoro.

The study indicates that the top search trends for the websites of the Presidential candidates are the names of candidates, but that a significant amount of the traffic funneled to candidates’ websites results from search trends related to rival candidates.

The top search trends that lead to Joseph Estrada’s website are based on former presidents, according to the study.

Aquino, Villar Facebook fan winners

Aquino and Villar are “neck-and-neck” in terms of number of fans on their Facebook fan pages, according to the study, with 869,298 and 822,637 fans respectively as of the time of the study.

The study notes that “people are more willing to engage and participate with their chosen candidates as fans than as friends. Conversations in fan pages are also more active than they are in friend pages.”

Estrada’s campaign was the earliest adopter of the social networking platform Twitter, according to the study, having created the account @PresidentErap on May 10, 2009. Gordon was the last candidate to adopt Twitter. The study shows that account @dickgordon2010 was created on October 31, 2009.

According to the study’s data, the Twitter account with the most followers is not the one with the most tweets. The Twitter account @noynoyaquino has the greatest number of followers, with 37,911. The account has only 47 Tweets. The Twitter account @Manny_Villar has 172 tweets and 1,311 followers. The account @giboteodoro has 32 and 10,376 followers.

“Most positive sentiments on Twitter are for the LAKAS-Kampi tandem of Teodoro and Manzano,” according to the study.

Far from Obama campaign

“We’re far from duplicating the social media campaign of Obama,” said Rimorin when asked how an online campaign in the Philippines could replicate the success of Barrack Obama’s 2008 new media campaign during the US presidential elections. Rimorin recommends that candidates in the Philippines audit their websites and pay close attention to the issues that are important to Internet users.

“It seems their supporters are doing more for them then they are doing for their supporters,” said Rimorin, noting that candidates often do not engage Internet uses who are connected to their social networks or who are posting information about the presidential candidates.

Read: In RP, online support may not translate into votes