Social media plays role in Kuwaiti parliament’s by-elections

Social media, nowadays, plays an effective role in delivering the parliament’s candidates’ messages to the masses especially in the campaigns organized ahead of the National Assembly’s by-elections for the second and third constituencies on March 16, said Kuwaiti academics Thursday.

Speaking to KUNA on the issue, the academics attributed the importance of Social Media to Kuwaiti society’s keenness on directly connecting with the candidates rather than depending on traditional media coverage. On his part, Dean of the College of Social Sciences Dr. Humoud Al-Qash’an indicated that Social Media provided a middle ground for all candidates to express their views clearly and directly.

The mass appeal of Social media also helped candidates to reach wider audiences, said the academic who affirmed that such thing helped in popularizing the parliamentary process. While there are some positive aspects to the whole process, the downside would be spreading false information on cyberspace, indicated Dr. Al-Qash’an, citing how “fake” news had an impact on the US Presidential elections with the presence of specialized companies and corporations aimed at generating controversy. News regarding elections on Social Media should not be taken as the most credible of sources, said the academic, stressing the vitality of focusing on where the news came from before
painting a wide portrait of what was really occurring during the elections.

Sharing her points of view, professor of psychology at Kuwait University Dr. Amthal AlHuwailah said that Social Media has a mass appeal on the youth of the country.
Within the context of the election, Social Media helps people to get a general idea of what a
candidate wants to achieve when he or she becomes a member of the National Assembly, Dr. Al-Huwailah said.

She added, despite the prominence of Social Media on our daily lives, people still are keen to visit candidates’ elections headquarters to get more acquainted with their message. One of the negative aspects of social media is the lack of direct body language connection even with the presence of pictures and videos because human interaction is different from viewing it through devices, said the psychology professor.

Dr. Al-Huwailah called on candidates to wisely use Social Media as a secondary tool to reach their voters, stressing the importance of making the human connection. Reflecting on the issue, political science professor at the University of Kuwait Dr. Hamad AlAbdullah said that the last general elections for the National Assembly saw the impact of Social Media on voters choice in choosing their candidates. Social Media enabled candidates to display to their voters their keenness on social, political,and economic issues through instant documentation on social media, said the professor who on the other hand indicated that not one candidate reached the National Assembly through purely depending promotion through digital means.

He added that there should be a balance in the use of Social Media and candidates efforts to sway the vote in their favour, affirming that parliamentary hopefuls still need to do the legwork to reach the hall of Abdullah Al-Salem building.