Technology Offers New Methods of Political Involvement


Giselle Villegas

A New York Times article states that the reason why Twitter is limited to 140 characters is because of our phones. Text messages were limited to 160 characters before the first IPhone had been released, so the creators of Twitter decreased it to 140 to align with those standards.

Giselle Villegas, Staff Writer

Social media has continuously been the outlet for people to express themselves in various ways. Within its growth, it has become a large source of information in people’s lives today, even weaving into political campaigns and changing the face of elections.

Now, Twitter has become a focal medium for political leaders. One of the most notable political figures on the platform is President Donald Trump. He tweets an average of five to seven times a day, according to calculations made by Bustle. A few of the topics he addresses are the U.S. border, the military and relations with other countries.

One of the most frequent Tweet topics is the wall he brands as being the reason “crime will fall.” His determination to build the wall on the Mexican border has angered many people, more so since the shutdown of the federal government.

Another active politician is Sen. Bernie Sanders who ran in the 2016 election and is planning to run in the 2020 election. Sanders tweets almost every other hour, contradicting President Trump’s tweets. Social media has become a pivotal place for large debates on controversial topics.

While social media has its place for hatred and segregation between the people, it has united others. Since Twitter and other platforms are in the hands of everyone, it has become easier to involve ordinary citizens in politics.

Millennials have become heavily involved, and a study conducted by the American Press Institute shows that 85% of millenials have prioritized news to be important to them now that they are able to view it at anytime, showing how often they keep up with recent political debates.

Also, data from the ABC exit polls show that in the 2018 midterm elections, young voters made up 13% of the overall electorate, which is up 2% from the 2014 midterms. It also shows that 3.3 million young voters casted their vote early. Compared to the 2014 midterms, that is a 188% increase, making it the most political involvement seen from young Americans in several decades.

Social media has changed how active people are in politics and how political leaders reach their audience. This sparks an interest within young people and motivates them to become politically active in this country they call their home.