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Jun 18 2016
by E'Stevan Ashe

How Technology Has Changed Politics

By E'Stevan Ashe - Jun 18 2016
Between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders attempting to dab on national television, it is clear that college students and technology have had a direct impact on this year's presidential election. 

This year's election has shown the evolution of technology like none before. Whether you're watching an entire presidential debate via Snapchat or waiting for a politician to release a statement on a current event, you're waiting minutes, instead of hours or days as we were once accustomed to. New advances in technology have forced today's politicians to be on top of current pop culture and gearing their campaigns toward college students. Such as Hillary Clinton's "dragging" of Donald Trump on Twitter a few days ago.


So, it should come as no surprise that many campaigns are hurrying to hire college students as social media interns to keep up with the latest trends and happenings in social media. The current tech boom has forced politicians and their teams to take their campaigns to the next level or be forgotten. Television advertisements were once where the bulk of fundraising money went for campaigns, but now those teams are gearing more towards advertisements placed on social media for the hope of virality. Politicians know that the college students they need to reach are engulfed on social media nearly every day. Never has it been easier for college students to get close to politicians, and students have more power than ever. You can watch any candidate of your choice on Twitter or Snapchat as they prepare for a rally or debate and even get a look into their daily lives.

Take a look at Bernie Sanders. Although he didn't score the Democratic nomination, many will attest to the fact his campaign was built by college students through social media. Bernie Sanders spent upwards of $350,000 in advertising on social media to reach young voters. Many political analysts believed his campaign wouldn't have been nearly successful if he didn't target those young voters.

The current tech boom has created places all over the internet that allow college students to engage in conversation about politics. Students now have the freedom to express their opinions about why they do not like a certain candidate or explain why they love them. Studies as recent as 2012 showed college students did not care about politics, but the emergence of social media sites have basically forced students to take part in conversations and form opinions. Sites such as Twitter and Facebook have also shown students become more involved in activism about issues such as race relations, sexual assault and college tuition. 

As technology has continued to evolve in recent years, it has allowed college students to become closer than ever to politicians and their campaigns. Driven by social media, many college students are using technology to become campus activists and to speak out against issues like no generation before us. This evolution is causing all politicians to stay on top of trends and gear their campaigns toward college students.

Lead Image Credit: Hillary Clinton via Twitter

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E'Stevan Ashe - Georgia State University

E'Stevan Ashe will attend Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia beginning in August 2016. He is pursuing a dual degree in film and journalism while minoring in political science.

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