Monday, November 3, 2008

Election Participation is Everything for Gen-Y

Gen-Y and the Youth VoteTomorrow is the big day. The impact may be larger than you think in terms of youth voting. You see, there was more focus on Gen-Y than ever with this election and if we don't show up at the polls, once again we will have dropped the ball and proven that we are not yet ready to lead and take responsibility for the things happening in this country and the world.

There has been a tremendous push in the way the youth is reached and if the polls are no shows for Gen-Y, then marketers are going to have to rethink marketing plans to go along with this generation.

Social Media

For the last 2 years or so, Social Media has been pushed down the throats of marketers, PR reps, corporations, CEO and advertising campaigns. This election has been no exception.

Jeremiah Owyang, a research analyst at Forrester broke down the candidates response on the major social sites. He did it to show the lopsidedness that Obama has over Social Media yet if you add some numbers together there are a lot of people using Social Media to relate to the candidates.


Obama: 2,379,102 supporters
McCain: 620,359 supporters
Total: 2,999,461

Obama: Friends: 833,161
McCain: Friends: 217,811
Total: 1,050,972


Obama: Channel Views: 18,413,110
McCain: Channel Views: 2,032,993
Total: 20,446,103

Obama: @barackobama has 112,474 followers
McCain: @JohnMcCain (is it real?) 4,603 followers
Total: 117,077

These 2 men have an amazing stronghold on the Social Media landscape. If we estimate that Twitter has 2 million users, 5.9% of people on Twitter are following one of the Presidential Candidates.

How Will This Impact Social Media?
The numbers and the movement on these networks are the highest of any other users in the world. Their visibility is high, the conversations they spark are high and the attention they have grabbed are through the roof.

If the youth vote does not turn out, marketers will have to rethink how they use YouTube to market videos to Gen-Y. We know that views are not the end all statistic for market relevance or monetization, but if these videos that hit home cannot get us off the couch and into the polls, then well the future does not look bright for ROI or monetization on the platform.

Myspace and Facebook face the same dilemma. The noise that is occurring on the networks may be just that, noise. The groups, the online petitions the banners and avatars will mean nothing if no one goes to the polls.

Mainstream Media

If the youth doesn't vote, we won't get another opportunity to have our voices heard like we did this time around. Why would companies like CNN put hard dollars into something that didn't make them money in the long run.

Why would MTV halt viewings of the Hills or other money making shows to put up election coverage if no one takes action?

Why would Rolling Stone put people on the cover if magazines won't sell?

Be heard.
Gen-Y has the ability to be a real threat to change in this nation. It's part of the reason that Barack Obama has come this far. We want to see a difference. It all boils down to IF WE ARE GOING TO STAND UP AND MAKE THAT DIFFERENCE.

I don't care who, where or why you voted, just vote. Get involved and take all this precious technology we have at our disposal, learn about what is happening in our world, in your backyard and do something about it. Voting is not the end all, be all, but it is a baby step in actually doing something that is bigger than your XBox, bigger than iTunes and bigger than that text from the girl at the coffee shop.

Let's prove that we can be Generation WE. Let's show them that Social Media doesn't just make noise, it also produces.

It's on you.

Greg Rollett


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