During high school I was taught by the most inspirational teacher that I ever had and he said "Names, dates, places change, but the concepts always stays the same." I find this quote true even up to this day and this quote is one of the main concepts I try to instill to my own students. I find this quote even more significant today especially with who is our President today and all his antics, as you can see by the video. The questions I asked myself is why do we have such a leader? How did a man like him become the most powerful man in the world currently? Is there a way to ensure this type of leadership not happen again? A simple answer to all these questions and more of why we have this type of President today is that not enough people voted, especially young adults.
Young voters notoriously dismiss the importance of voting, but their voice is an important one on both sides of the aisle. Key issues in every election increasingly relate to the concerns of students and professionals between the ages of 18 and 29, making it essential for members within that age group to educate themselves on political issues and take to the polls. Despite millennials represented nearly 50% of the entire voter population in the 2016 election, they were further divided along race, gender, and education lines when considering key issues from both candidates. Conversely, people in the same age range are constantly using Social Network Sites at an alarming rate. The combination of both these facts leads to the inspiration of this study to ascertain whether Social Network Sites can alter students to become more motivated in politics.
A Little Background
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In a national survey of over 1,500 people, eight in ten Americans who were online used Facebook. Facebook leads this category of online users compared to other Social Network Sites such as Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, or LinkedIn (Perrin, 2016). On a total population basis of Americans (not including Americans who do not use the internet at all), 68% of all U.S. adults are Facebook users, while 28% use Instagram, 26% use Pinterest, 25% use LinkedIn and 21% use Twitter. However, according to a report by CNN in 2016 voter turnout dropped to its lowest in nearly two decades. This is the lowest Presidential election since 1996, when roughly 54% of voting-age citizens voted (Wallace, 2016). In today’s world, more people are registering and creating online profiles for Social Network Sites (SNS) while less people are registering to vote in America.
While young people make up a large portion of the voting-eligible population, they’re much less likely than those who are older to vote. The youth vote has the potential to be extremely influential in this country. Many young people cite feeling as though their vote doesn’t count as their reason for not participating in elections. It is merely a matter of time before millennials become the largest and most powerful group influencing future elections in the U.S. Unfortunately, not all who can vote will, consequently leading to fewer young people missing their opportunity to directly influence issues that might affect their lives for years to come.