The Power of Social Media and Youth
The forms of communication continues to evolve into the 21st century. Long ago, getting one’s message across came in the form of speeches. Speeches turned into newspapers, which eventually turned into radio, and then television. The newest form of communication is the internet. Presidential candidates who do not see social media as an effective form of communication will not do well in their Presidential campaigns. Whether people like it or not, social media plays an important role in the election process today.
Social media can assist the Presidential candidates in getting their message across to potential voters. Joining social media allows voters to feel closer to the candidate, whether by “following” or “friending” the preferred candidate. Social media is not just a one way street. People with similar stances on issues can create groups or make videos, promoting their view to the world. Candidates can easily see a group’s opinion on any given issue, allowing the group to be heard.
Perhaps the biggest impact social media has on the Presidential election is voter turnout. Nearly half of young adults (described as being between the ages of 18-24 years old) voted in the 2008 elections. This is a large increase from the 2000 elections, where only 32% of young adults voted (Shea, pg. 152). What could have possibly created such a large increase between 2000 and 2008? The presence of social media within those 8 years have increased a hundred fold. Presidential campaigns speak to young voters through social media.
While correlation between social media, the newest form of communication, and young voters is positive, it doesn’t necessarily mean causation. However, the positive correlation between the two cannot continue to go unnoticed, especially by those campaigning. The role of social media shines through with the 2008 campaign, and hopefully potential Presidential candidates have taken note.
We are 21st century learners who collaborate purposefully, communicate cogently, create meaningfully, and think critically. We write about politics and foundations of government with an eye toward developing engaged citizens - the sorts who are essential to the health of democracy.