Social Media Platforms Are Encouraging Users to Vote
In case you’ve been living under a rock the past four years, there’s an election coming up. And social media platforms are pushing the vote hard.
Election seasons in America are rather strange, aren’t they? People stop watching football, people become stressed, and we pray for meteors to slam into the earth to relieve us of the collective headache the political process seems to create.
Unfortunately for the nihilists, there’s very little chance of any meteor hitting the United States between now and election day, which means we must fulfill our civic duty as citizens and cast our votes at the ballot box, even if the choices for our next President are received with little enthusiasm or positivity this time around.
Nevertheless, regardless of your political beliefs, your choice in candidate, and your opinions on emails, walls, China, and constitutional crises, there is one subject I’m certain we all can agree on: social media has been putting in work to get us out to the polls on November 8th.
In the days leading up to Election Day, Facebook has issued a popup on people’s accounts asking to favorite Presidential, Senatorial, and Congressional candidates based on where they live. While Facebook has a track record for political activism for the last few election cycles dating back to 2008, this year sees a host of other social platforms, both old and new, getting involved in the process.
Twitter, a preferred platform for political commentators, activists, and the Presidential candidates themselves throughout this election season, has been a hotbed for encouraging political activity for some time now. This is both in the form of automated programs participating in primaries and debates, and through the creators of the platform itself, who have promoted the hashtag #Election2016 in the hopes of increasing voter turnout.
Similarly, social platforms hosting more visually focused content, such as Snapchat and Instagram, have been important in getting out the vote. Hashtags on Instagram and celebrity endorsements of candidates and political memes have made their rounds across user accounts, using a mixture of humor, outrage, and fear to get people to visit the polls. Others have even documented themselves participating in the democratic process — such as Justin Timberlake — though we don’t condone doing the same, since some states have laws against this.
Snapchat, on the other hand, has taken a different approach to raising voter awareness. Featured Stories on Snapchat by companies like Buzzfeed have regularly discussed the campaigns of both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, colleges have had campus Stories focusing around the three Presidential debates, and Filters have been created encouraging users to vote. It’s even likely you’ve seen Snaps by your friends of the Presidential candidates with the puppy filter on.
No matter the platform, it is evident that most, if not all, major social media companies have taken steps to actively influence voter turnout this election. So, as an American citizen, be sure to do your part come November 8th if you haven’t already, and make your voice matter.