The time is almost here. Your politically savvy co-workers won‘t shut up, everyone suddenly has an opinion on foreign policy, and you can‘t check Facebook without the intense desire to unfriend that high school acquaintance who is an overnight ‘expert‘ on all things about The Constitution.
Yes, the mass hysteria of the American presidential campaign season is almost upon us.
Perhaps you are a political junkie and love trivia night questions about Capitol Hill. Or perhaps the upcoming season makes you want to just crawl in a hole to avoid the endless attack ads and political banter. But whether or not you are interested in politics at all, the next sixteen months are going to make you care.
Because thanks to new technology, the political process is going to play out right at your fingertips.
In the past, local and national campaigns spent the majority of their marketing budget on TV commercials in order to get voters to pay attention during their favorite weeknight show. But since no good Millennial actually watches live TV anymore (hello Netflix binging), don‘t be surprised if you start seeing campaign content popping up on your mobile devices in more creative ways.
Brace yourself – ads are out and apps are in.
Honing in on the fact that upwards of 74% of American adults have some sort of online profile, you can bet that every candidate – in every party – is going to spend a lot more money on social media content.
Using social media within campaigns isn‘t a new concept, as it gave Obama a huge advantage when it came to connecting with younger voters in 2008 and 2012. But this time around, you can expect a lot more of Silicon Valley in DC, as candidates pay top dollar for computer scientists to figure out exactly how to reach people online. And this goes beyond Facebook ads and email newsletters. Last week Snap Chat announced that long-time CNN political correspondent Peter Hamby will head up their news team (yes, Snap Chat wants to be your source for political news, one disappearing video at a time).
If you are excited about the political process, then the new technology is out there to help you engage more. You can expect live video feeds on your phone (checkout Meerkat or Periscope apps to keep up with real-time news), and more live tweeting sessions during key debates.
Not so excited? Well, here is advanced warning that you are going to be bombarded with political content on multiple apps.
But before you get too discouraged, remember that this new social media push means that candidates actually care a whole lot about you. While campaigns are multi-billion dollar investments, they completely fail unless you show up to a polling booth on November 8, 2016. Every candidate is going after the Millennial vote and is willing to pay unreal amounts of money to engage you and your friends. You should feel empowered because your opinion and ideas are incredibly important. So even if you don‘t think of yourself as ‘political,‘ don‘t be afraid to reach out to candidates (they are all checking Twitter 24/7 anyways) and ask the questions you want to ask.
Of course, if you aren‘t exactly inspired to listen to the seemingly endless campaigns, debates and speeches, you can always do the truly American thing – invent a drinking game to get through it all.