2020 was the year that made many more young people become interested in politics. All of this happened during one of the most hectic years in modern history, given the protests about racial injustice, a global pandemic and the most divisive election of our lifetimes. The latter had the highest voter turnout for people between 18 and 25 years and Gen Z’s new interest in politics played a huge role in the outcome. Social media is the new way to consume news. Growing up using our phones and watching TV shows shortened our attention spans. We grew up in an era where everything is labeled as “Breaking News” or the most important story of the day. The only thing is that there are at least 10 most important stories of the day. Watching the news seems uninteresting and sometimes too intense. There are very few young people who are part of news outlets. We only see faces of people way older than us who don’t always appeal to our perceptions of the world. That is why we moved away from TV and written press while choosing to consume news from platforms like Twitch, YouTube, Tik Tok, Twitter and Instagram.
Hasan Piker, or HasanAbi, is the biggest Twitch political streamer who recently had a New York Times article published about him. He had over 80 hours of election coverage with an audience over 250,000. He also played the famous video game Among Us with Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar to encourage young people to vote. This definitely shows that young people care a lot about what is happening in the world. They only need the right people to present it to them.
Another famous way to consume news is through platforms like Twitter or Instagram. These ones are very similar. There are plenty of infographics and accounts dedicated to presenting current events summarized very effectively. This gives people the opportunity to find out about what is happening and do more in-depth research about the subjects that interest them the most. It can feel very overwhelming to know all the details about every single subject, so this is a helpful way to at least feel informed about what the public discourse is. There are a lot of profiles worth following, a few of them being: ACLU, soyouwanttotalkabout, impact and so many others.
Tik Tok is one of the greatest resources for young people interested in politics.Here you can find anything from people’s individual stories and advice to book recommendations, from personal opinions to infographics aiming to raise awareness. Even though a lot of adults do not take this platform seriously, newspapers like The Washington Post have understood its importance and started their own Tik Tok account where they are trying to educate people. Tik Tok’s algorithm can definitely lead you towards very niche and concrete issues that you are interested in, but it is very important to know that we should always try and understand everyone’s point of view, because that is the only way we’ll truly be informed.
Last but not least, podcasts are overpowering newspapers. More and more people are listening to The Daily instead of reading the New York Times or listening to Democracy Now! instead of reading their website.
Tik Tok kids are going to change the world. Young people care about politics. Young people have the most powerful voices they have ever had, and they are the ones who are willing to speak their truth no matter what the older generations may think.