On October 27, a team of researchers from the UP Department of Communication Research officially launched the Digital Public Pulse project. This project seeks to probe an array of actors, fields of inquiry, and voter practices in the buildup to the 2022 elections.

The Philippine Media Monitoring (PMM) Laboratory, “a consortium of researchers in the fields of communication, political science, and data science,” leads the implementation of the said project.

UP CMC Assistant Professors Marie Fatima Gaw and John Benedik Bunquin bared the Digital Pulse Project’s key objectives and methodologies during its media launch via Zoom.

Bunquin highlighted the project’s intent to offer a more vivid picture of the multifaceted realities of an election that is as crucial for various societal sectors as the 2022 national polls. 

“Our ultimate goal here is not just for the research to be a picture of the elections as it is talked about online, rather we want to produce insights that can be acted upon by key decision-makers and insights that can also guide individual voters,” he said.

Gaw added that the maximized reliance on digital media for political information, as well as its intensified tendencies to propagate disinformation, makes the upcoming elections a significantly unprecedented one.

To further explore the present dynamics of social media users vis-à-vis Philippine politics, a multitude of research methodologies such as content, discourse, and network analyses will be employed.

“We seek to examine the narratives and strategies of people that they use in the conversations online to be heard in political conversations, to gain political influence, and to be visible and prominent in the political space of social media,” she explained.

Furthermore, the project is set to explore issues and talking points of significant virality across online echo chambers. 

Initial findings drawn from the Digital Public Pulse project can be viewed on the group’s official social media pages.

According to the PMM, three reports are slated to be released across the span of the ongoing election season with the first expected in December 2021 about the country’s digital public sphere, followed by a second in March 2022 delving deep on election-related issues and online political cultures.

A third and final culminating report is expected to be released in July 2022, which is set to offer a comprehensive year-round online analysis of the 2022 elections in its entirety.

The formidable team behind this collaborative project consists of faculty members from the UP CommRes Department, namely Julienne Baldo-Cubelo, Fernando Paragas, and Ma. Rosel San Pascual. Other members of the project’s core team include Associate Professors Jalton Taguibao from UP Diliman and Geoffrey Solano from UP Manila. DZUP

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