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Leading Candidates Battle It out on Social Networking Services Updated: 2012-12-18 00:00:00 KST

Leading Candidates Battle It out on Social Networking Services
Besides the trucks that blare campaign messages
and the volunteers who greet people on the streets there's another campaign tactic that's bombarding citizens across the nation.
It's the digital campaign.

[Interview : Kim Chul-kyun, Director of Social Media
Saenuri Party] "In the previous election, the concept of campaigning via social media didn't exist. But now, with the rise of smartphones and different social networking sites, we practically use all of the social networking tools we can to communicate with Korean citizens all over the world."

The 25-member digital media team that's working for the Saenuri Party's Park Geun-hye says social networking services, which are easily accessible on smartphones, have been some of the most effective tools in their campaigning.

[Interview : Kim Chul-kyun, Director of Social Media
Saenuri Party] "We have a large following among older citizens and they tend to use their phones more than computers."

With the candidates locked in a close race in the real world, they've even started to see their rivalry spill over into the virtual one.

[Interview : Connie Lee
connie@arirang.co.kr] "On the KaoKao Talk mobile messaging service, Park currently has more than 600-thousand 'friends' while her rival, the Democratic United Party's Moon Jae-in, has around 500-thousand. Now these 'friends' regularly get messages and news alerts from their preferred candidate."

Moon's campaign, which is trying to gain the support of younger voters, boasts more than 91-thousand "likes" on its main Facebook page to Park's 28-thousand.
Moon's social networking team of 50 says they like to post a lot of "behind-the scenes" photos and messages that are honest and genuine.

[Interview : Moon Yong-shik, Manager of Social Media
Democratic United Party] "We understand the importance of social media for younger people these days. So about 50-percent of our campaign efforts are focused on social media. Through our short messages, pictures or videos, we try to show voters what the party is really all about."

With Election Day just around the corner we'll know soon enough whether the many posts, likes, tweets and replays will translate into votes come Wednesday.
Connie Lee, Arirang News.
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