More people than ever before are using the internet to engage in political activity. According to Pew, 72 percent of all Americans participate in activities such as sharing links to political articles on Facebook. While the internet has opened up many new forms of political engagement, the people taking part in these activities may be the same people who are already politically involved offline. As a result, the internet makes political information more accessible to a larger audience, but people who have been traditionally difficult to connect with offline still remain unengaged. Specifically, people with lower incomes and levels of education, even though they may have internet access and be active on social networks, remain less politically aware than those who are wealthier and more educated despite efforts to reach out to them online. Improving overall digital literacy will help larger portions of the population understand how they can access political information and get involved online, increasing the effectiveness of online messaging.
Social media plays an important role in modern teen socialization. Growing up on social media inevitably leads to different views and uses of social networking sites. It is important to understand these differences now as they will likely affect the way we message them when they become part of the voting population. Teens are moving to Twitter from Facebook. According to Pew, about one quarter of teens use Twitter, up from 16% in 2011. Teens are also less enthusiastic in their Facebook use, reporting a dislike for the increasing adult presence, excessive sharing, and stressful drama. However, they remain on Facebook as it is crucial to overall teen socialization. This makes effective messaging through Twitter even more important as teens may not be as interested in Facebook posts that aren’t directly related to their social network, but are more likely to engage on Twitter. Teens are also interested in increasing the variety in their network and information sharing. Providing exclusive content will be more important than ever to capturing their attention and keeping them engaged. Current teen social media use may force changes when they become voters.