Have you registered to vote?

As I was skimming through social media this week, one common theme popped up on my social channels and the messages were all the same; Register to vote. Each channel of media pushed it in their own way. At first, I did not notice it, but once I was looking the messages were everywhere. I decided to click on as many endorsements to vote to see where the links clicked through to.

Google

Google was the first platform I noticed the message loud and clear. I have Google search page as my homepage on Chrome. I could switch it, but I enjoy looking at the new illustrations each day. Google actually refers to them as “doodles” and embedded is a link to an entire page dedicated to Google Doodles that often come with games, correlate with important dates, and offers an overall high entertainment value. Warning: this website is a dark hole of distractions and hours may be wasted on it. Anyways, about two days ago, I opened my browser (probably to watch The Office) and this is the doodle that I was greeted by:

imgres.png

The top of the banner flashes “Register to Vote” in different languages. You can see the Register to Vote doodle still on Google’s pages with directions on how to register yourself. This tool sends you to another Google page seen below, where using your location they instruct you on what system your state uses. Screen Shot 2016-09-28 at 10.57.15 PM.png

After enjoying my time clicking through Google, I turned to other social platforms to see how their user journey unfolded.

Facebook

Facebook was a little bit harder to figure out than Google because those fun videos that pop up when you open your Newsfeed first thing in the morning go away when you sign in again. However, I searched Screen Shot 2016-09-27 at 3.52.50 PM.png

mirroring Google’s message which led me to http://nationalvoterregistrationday.org/

Instagram

Instagram was even easier because it simply popped up as a sponsored ad. That means, Instagram is using data and sacrificing ad dollars (assumed) for this voting campaign. The clickthrough journey for Instagram was a new adventure for me because I have never clicked on a sponsored ad before. This was the initial message and where the hyperlink takes the user when the click on “learn more.”

IMG_5853.PNGIMG_5854.PNG

 

Youtube

Youtube was something I actually initially forgot about as a major social channel, but I was on it today watching SNL skits and noticed a #VOTE IRL next to the Youtube logo and click on that as well. It brought me to this pageScreen Shot 2016-09-28 at 10.38.18 PM.png

Using a mix of statistics and videos, Youtube also pushes the voting message by encouraging people to make videos that last 1:34 because that is how long it takes to register.

Snapchat

On celebrities pages, Snapchat encourages you to vote by sliding up and it leads you to register.turbovote.org This was the most surprising platform that encouraged voting due to the style of the channel. Yet, Snapchat continues to impress me with the way they have incorporated social campaigns like this along with ads while maintaining the way people appreciate and use the app.

There are many other social channels and messages encouraging registration that I could not do them all…. but feel free to personally check out Twitter, Tumblr, Vine, and many more!

Reactions

I purposely did not look for articles or information about this campaign and general push to register to vote before writing my blog so that my perceptive would be strictly as a user of social platforms. I wanted to immerse myself into the user journey before looking into the pattern more deeply.

After some Research…

I discovered that over 4,000 organizations have banded together in order to get people voting. They have used the power of the social network to push the message and make it as easy as possible for people to register.

Before I went beyond Google, I could not help but think that there was some underlying message behind these messages. I have still not fully decided if encouraging people to register and educate themselves about the election is a push towards Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. However, none of the sites encourages one way or another explicitly and even the color scheme was fairly patriotic. Also, knowing how a large corporation functions, it would be incredibly risky to push one candidate or another. Even if a majority believe one way or another, you could deter current and future stakeholders. Upsetting employees, customers, investors, and the general public would not be worth choosing a side. I think this campaign is the smartest thing that these 4,000+ companies decided to do. After all, just voting will make an impact one way or another and the encouragement for people to do their civic duty by being registered is good for society. This is a true example of Corporate Social Responsibility because encouraging the best use of our democratic nation and freedom of expression and to vote will inherently help the masses. Everyone will benefit from voting.

I personally have never been interested or passionate about politics and this will be the first presidential election that I will have the privilege of participating in. Sometimes I question if my vote means anything at all, but what’s the harm in casting it? As Americans, we are privileged to have these rights – so register yourself and VOTE!

Sites also used for reference and good reads:
https://www.cnet.com/news/national-voter-registration-day-internet-wants-you-to-vote/
http://www.masslive.com/entertainment/index.ssf/2016/09/snapchat_voter_registration.html

8 comments

  1. sandytanny · ·

    It’s certainly refreshing to see our favorite social media platforms encouraging users to “get out there and vote.” As it will be the first presidential election many of us millennials will be finally old enough to vote in, it’s important to educate the people in how easy the process is to register, but more significantly, how important their individual vote means. Though not the case for everyone, many young eligible voters seem a bit disillusioned with our current political climate and have chosen to avoid the situation all together. What’s great about social media, in this instance, is that these messages are hard to ignore when they appear on our Instagram feeds or are featured in a Snapchat Stories with Kendall Jenner dancing with an American flag tied around her (very hard to ignore). The message than evolves into the idea that it is now “cool” to vote…and it is cool! It’s our democratic right. So hopefully social media continues to push millennials into the voting booths come November!

  2. Thanks for sharing, Maria! Like you, this will be the first presidential election in which I am eligible to vote. I’m really glad you did a blog post about this, because I’ve been wondering about the social media push for registration. Obviously it’s encouraging that these platforms support so strongly the encouragement of civic duty, and its reaching millennials in a way where no one can rightfully claim ignorance or lack of access to justify not voting. I wonder about whether or not these social media cites gain any benefit from forgoing potential adds in order to make these political pushes. The only reason I ask is because it seems that each platform so desperately wants you to register through their link/portal, and it doesn’t seem like they all lead to the same website. I wonder if anyone else has thoughts on this?

  3. Hi! This is a great post. I’ve been noticing these ads too and I think it’s great! Following this summer’s surprising Brexit result, I feel like this election, more than ever, is branded “your vote matters.” Your article reminded me of a really great video that emerged this summer as a result of a collaboration between Buzzfeed and President Obama, entitled “5 Things That Are Harder Than Registering to Vote, Featuring President Obama.” *Spoiler alert…* these include naming ever Game of Thones character who has ever died, untangling headphones (which I think is even more funny considering the recent news that the iPhone 7 won’t have a headphone jack!) playing the game Operation, making a friendship bracelet, and stacking cheerios. The video is worth a look:

    https://www.buzzfeed.com/briggles/registering-to-vote-with-president-obama

  4. Tyler O'Neill · ·

    With millennials accounting for a quarter of the U.S. population, it makes sense that companies and organizations would unite to encourage the youth to take part in the election (largely for the first time). In your article you mention that the ads didn’t seem to favor either candidate, which I believe is crucial in getting people to trust in the system and vote in the first place. When I read that it made me consider why companies would spend money (and sacrifice advertisement dollars) to support people going out and voting. Do you think the company thinks that encouraging people to vote they are somehow helping their public image or perhaps for future financial benefits? Great job Maria!

  5. Interesting post, very topical. I kind of like that social media is so effective at spreading awareness for various causes and initiatives in this day and age. Voting is one matter, but there have also been campaigns for suicide prevention, equal pay for women, all with a corresponding hashtag and well-known public figures giving their two cents about the issue at hand. Social media is definitely a great way to get creative and appeal to a mass audience. I’m wondering how effective the voter registration campaign really was. Whether or not it actually encouraged young people to get out and vote, I really enjoyed watching Conan O’Brien “make” popcorn in 1 minute and 34 seconds, to emphasize that you can register to vote in that same amount time.

  6. I like your choice to write the majority of the blog before doing any research, keeping it purely experiential and reactionary. As everyone else has mentioned, this is an incredibly relevant topic and I’m curious to see how it will play out. Do you think it will really make a difference in this election?

    The politically inclined often scoff at our generation for our lack of enthusiasm for politics, so it’ll be interesting to see if we actually turn out in this election. I think your questioning of political bias was well placed. It seems to me that although there are the very vocal few conservatives (everyone has that one uncle who won’t stop ranting about trump) it seems like the social media sphere is dominated by the younger and more left-leaning, so maybe Facebook and other sites are hoping to implicitly further their cause.

    Interestingly Facebook already has a guess about your political leanings…maybe they think you’ll vote with them in November and that’s why they’re making the push? http://bit.ly/2bfk2Gu

  7. I really enjoyed your post this week Maria! I actually thought the same thing this week as I began going onto social media. The thing I do not like is that Politics are so heavily portrayed on social media, more in the sense that people are posting their views and opinions online. This can heavily serve as turning people off. HOWEVER, I find social media to be a great tool to promote voting. I feel we each have a voice and no matter what we should be able to share our voice and vote for who we’d like to elect. It’s actually funny because I saw this so much even certain celebrities like Kendall Jenner for instance had a “register to vote” campaign on instagram.

  8. Very cool article Maria. I think that it is important that Social Media sites are banding together here in order to get the word out to vote. I know it’s tough for some of us to remember to vote, or to remember to register, but the ease of which it can be done now is astounding. Regardless of who someone votes for I believe it’s important that people take the time to vote, because it is a right we have that many around the world cannot say they have as well. Overall, interesting read, can’t wait for more.

%d bloggers like this: