New Study Finds Social Media Shapes Millennial Political Involvement and Engagement

Millennials are getting older and their interest in politics and social issues is on the rise. As the election heats up and voters get more involved, millennials are right alongside older generations in their desire to stay informed.

Now that millennials are reaching their prime adult years, staying informed about current events has become more important. According to a study from American Press Institute, 69% of millennials get the news daily and 85% say that keeping up with the news is at least somewhat important to them. Although millennials access news differently than boomers, according to Guardian, they access news regularly to keep up-to-date with new information.

The Millennial Impact Project, a new study conducted by Achieve research agency, investigated how millennials’ cause engagement behaviors may change during an election year. It also looks at how those changes may be influenced by factors such as political affiliation, location, gender, age, race and emerging candidates. The study, currently in its second wave, has found key trends that explain how millennials view politics and social change.

Taking a stand on social

According to the study, a majority of millennials had posted in the past week on social media about the issues they cared about. With millennials being 2.5 times more likely to be early adopters of technology than other generations, it is no surprise that social media is playing such a large role in this election. This is, after all, a generation where a majority agree their life feels richer because they are connected through social media.

According to Adweek, politicians are stepping up their social media campaigns. It is estimated that politicians will allocate nine percent of their media budget to digital and social media in an effort to win over millennials. Social media is putting the election at the fingertips of the largest living generation in the U.S. and it is quickly changing the political game.

Social media has the potential to influence millennial voters in two specific ways:

  1. Participatory politics – Participatory politics, a new political movement that encourages individual engagement and participation in ongoing debates and discussions, takes place predominately in the social realm. Millennials are more demanding that their local and national governments and politicians listen to them and want to be involved in the conversation at all times. Remember, this is co-creation generation.
  2.  On going, real-time conversations – Twitter specifically has changed the political landscape for many politicians. Twitter is typically used as a platform for self-expression and news management, providing local and national leaders with the opportunity to gage sentiment in real-time in at a rate that has never existed before.
    Millennials have historically had low voter participation, however now that they have a space where they feel included, they are more motivated to show up to the polls.

Written by Jeff Fromm at Forbes