The growth of social media platforms over the past 10 years has been staggering, with new content being posted every single day. With the Canadian federal election coming up, I began to think about the way that I digest things on social media, and how important of a tool it is for the spread of information. Instagram especially has been one platform where I have been able to both access information about the platforms of all the parties, but also where many of my peers have posted encouraging others to go out and vote. This specifically made me think about how the growth of social media has given young people a voice surrounding their political views and opinions and makes these issues “cool” and more accessible to young people than ever before.
The two main platforms which I have found to be most littered with political information is Twitter and Instagram. Instagram stories have made it so simple for people to repost content from other accounts and easily share it with all of their followers. Through this feature, I have seen countless posts shared about party platforms, how to vote, where to vote, reminders about registering, etc. I believe the use of these tools among young people has helped to keep other young people accountable and also make young people realize how important their voice is in political issues. Sites such as Twitter are useful in a different way, as it is so easy to digest news through the “explore” function. In this area of Twitter, I can constantly see current trending issues in politics, and different news stories about political issues, which easily keep me in the know and help to shape my opinions on different parties. Twitter is also a place where young people are able to freely express their opinions on different political parties platforms, and also discuss the positives and negatives of these platforms.
This election, young people aged 18-38 will represent almost 40% of the voter demographic. This means that our political voice is more important than ever as young people. Still, in the political landscape, it feels as though much of the information coming directly from candidates is not geared towards our age group. This is why the use of social media is so important. It allows young people to create and share information that engages people of our generation. It allows young people to stay engaged and interested in the parties and how they are going to impact our future. Social media almost makes voting seem like a “trendy” thing to do and suggests that not voting would be weird, especially as a young person. The spread of this rhetoric will only help to continually involve young people in the issues that matter to them and make sure that they stay informed about voting and how to cast their vote. 10 years ago, young people may have been seen as “unimportant” in the elections, but now we have been able to spread our voice through using something as simple as a social media app, and it may change the landscape of elections from now on.