Today’s generation is using social media to engage in civic and political action.
It provides the millennia’s with an opportunity to gain a wide access of information through many platforms. While social media is often looked down upon as a waste of time and a source of disconnect for teenagers. Instead of always using it as a form of escape, many individuals are still interested in news and information; they just have new ways of accessing it compared to the traditional formats.
Millennia’s are not only consuming news on these social networks; they are consuming more than they intended to when they go on the networks, they are engaging with the news, and they are being exposed to a wider range of topics and opinions than many suspect.
Political scientists measure political participation along metrics such as reading the newspaper, affiliation with a political party, attending a town hall meeting, or casting a vote. But the use of social media to report, livestream, critique, and mobilize gives rise to a whole new generation of civic actors and civic acts that we are just beginning to recognize
When analyzing social media it is important to make a distinction between “power users” and “powerful users.” The former is a reference to frequency of use whereas the latter is a reference to currency in use (American Press Institute).
Power use, however, should not be conflated with powerful use. Powerful use is the degree to which use carries weight and influence in, for example, the political, policy, or pop culture realm. The power of Twitter resides in its brevity and speed of communication, the networks it can tap, and the content it can spread. But, not all networks, tweets, or content are equal.
This is the chief role of political engagement, to make those in authority responsive to the needs of the people. Social media will not be the primary reason change may one day come to cities, but it is almost certain to play a role in any transformation that takes place.