Netizens may not represent the majority

One of the lessons that we can learn from the 2015 General Election outcome is that we need to be more circumspect when interpreting the signals we receive over social media.

Many on both sides of the political divide have had their eyes glued on comments and reporting on the elections on these channels.

Yet the loudest voices online do not necessarily reflect the views of the majority.

Many were therefore caught by surprise by the massive swing in support for the ruling party.

It is thus important for the Government and the people to remember that the views of the silent majority are often under-represented on social media.

While all voices deserve to be heard, it is important to maintain a sense of perspective on what the majority of Singaporeans believe in.

This is important, especially when government leaders are increasingly looking to be closer to the ground in seeking directions for various policy initiatives and in ascertaining the people's position on social and moral values.

Lee Heng Fatt

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 14, 2015, with the headline 'Netizens may not represent the majority'. Print Edition | Subscribe