Young people need to look beyond social media platforms while formulating political opinions
By Megan Sarns
The presidential race is a marketing campaign, and we are the target audience. Although few will be eligible to vote in November, millennials of all ages have been influential players throughout the entire process, from the initial debates and dwindling of candidates to primaries to the Democratic and Republican conventions.
Earning the support of young voters has always held significance; in a political landscape where a higher percentage of voters hover around the age of 45, locking down the 18-30 demographic can provide a boost to a candidate’s numbers on election day.
With that said, in this election, appealing to a younger audience seems all the more important, and politicians have had to adjust their campaigns to the way our generation is informed of political issues.
Why do politicians market to a younger audience? Young minds are malleable to change. Older voters are likely to have already committed to a political party and ideology and are harder to reach; young voters are still developing their ideas and opinions.
Social media makes them more accessible and allows politicians to speak directly to their audience.
If a political party is able to earn the support of someone while they’re young through the use of social media, they can nurture that support for life.
In earlier generations, parents had a dominant role in the beliefs of their children, but parents’ political influence has diminished as the information kids have access to has become harder to control due to the internet.
However, young people should be wary of the way politicians reach out to their audience. Millennials can be easily manipulated by tweets and trending hashtags that barely scratch the surface of what a politician or political party represents.
In a world of instant gratification and unlimited knowledge, the way information is processed is complex; to truly understand the product, the buyer needs to look beyond 140 characters.