Young people use social media to stay politically engaged - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Young people use social media to stay politically engaged

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Two generations of Americans are starting to become more influential in politics.

But people in their twenties to forties--also known as Generation X and Y-yers--are going about it a different way. Experts say don't call them apathetic..They simply use non-traditional ways to get across their messages.

Twenty-year old Kadie Haase agrees.

"Our generation loves being a part of the news not just observing it," Haase.

Samford University professor Marissa Grayson says political engagement online is becoming the new normal. Through social networks,young people learn about political events and organizations as well as how they can get involved. Grayson points to the 2012 national conventions where leaders from both parties used social media tools.

"There was live tweeting at the conventions or people who spoke at the conventions would maybe tell their stories also online so that people who would otherwise not be active would pay attention," Grayson says.

She says the spike in online activity isn't just about boosting voter turnout.

"It also matters in the context of money. In 2008, Obama was able to raise over 3 million dollars in one month and most of that money came from people who were donating less than 10 dollars, so much of that was done because it was so easy to just click on a button," Grayson says.

Birmingham city councilor Jay Roberson uses both Facebook and Twitter to connect with his constituents.

"Everybody can't be in attendance at those forums during the day due to work so I am able to update those persons through social media so they can understand what is going on," Roberson says.

Most recently--Roberson started an online campaign for his "100 Days of Non-violence" initiative. He posted a picture on Facebook while holding up one finger; that was Roberson's way of telling young people they are number one and can be successful.

"It just kind of helped galvanize support for that effort and due to those type of efforts and campaigns. We were successful another year," Roberson says.

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