North Texas Daily

Presidential candidates should stop underestimating millennials

Presidential candidates should stop underestimating millennials

Presidential candidates should stop underestimating millennials
February 11
00:29 2016

Morgan Sullivan | Staff Writer

@sadsquadch

It was only a matter of time before presidential candidates started vying for votes on the Internet.

When President Obama was elected nearly eight years ago, Twitter was just two years old, and having Internet on your phone was still somewhat of a luxury. The very first iPhone had just been introduced a year earlier, and although social media was a bit bigger when he was reelected in 2012, the conversation still wasn’t centered on millennials or engaging with voters on social media itself.

Since millennials have now surpassed Baby Boomers as the largest voter group, this makes them a hot commodity. Consequently, all of the presidential candidates are now running social media campaigns hoping to capture a piece of the millennial vote.

For Hillary Clinton, her team’s strategy appeared to be approaching the Internet like a grandmother. But she’s not a regular grandma – she’s a “cool” grandma!

Not. From the beginning of her campaign, it has been clear Hillary has no idea how to successfully interact with us. To Clinton (and most Baby Boomers), millennials are a selfie-obsessed, social media-dependent zombie herd. Which, maybe we are, but do they really want to start stacking up stereotypes?

We aren’t an algorithm. We are a complicated mixture of past, present and future. You can’t simply tweet using memes and emojis and hijack our slang without actually understanding the humor behind it and then expect us to take you seriously. We see through the ruse. 

Baby Boomers don’t want to believe millennials are intelligent. They want to blow us off by complaining that we don’t care about politics or the world around us because they can’t relate to us the way we relate to each other.

Sure, we laugh at memes. We send texts riddled with emojis and sometimes converse through double-chinned Snapchats. Sue us! We aren’t going to apologize for being more entertained by our iPhones than shooting marbles on the back porch with Jimmy from across the street.

Awkward situations have always existed. Just because we don’t laugh at your jokes does not mean we don’t know how to socialize – we do! Honestly, most people are just not that interesting, and we’d rather have a conversation through text than have to feign interest in person.

The truth is, millennials DO care about politics – we care about a lot of things. We have issues that we deeply care about, from social justice to student loans to human trafficking.

We don’t want to send you three emojis that sum up our thoughts about student debt, Hillary. Truthfully, no emoji can capture the horror students feel when thinking about how long it will take to pay off their student loans.

The problem isn’t that political candidates are trying to interact with us on social media. The issue at hand is that political candidates don’t care to learn about us – they simply want our votes and half-heartedly engage us in an attempt to do so.

Talk to me about where you stand on issues, Hillary. My friends make better memes, anyway.

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1 Comment

  1. programmerdudeindenton
    programmerdudeindenton February 12, 10:31

    I really related to the line “see through the ruse”. When older people appropriate the digital reality that we use and enjoy on a daily basis, it sort of make me feel like they cheapen the value of something I consider fun and awesome. Just me $.02

    Anyways, good read.

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