Want to win the youth vote? Publish party manifestos on Twitter, say young people

 

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The Independent Online

The Green Party will deliver their manifesto on Twitter to try and target and engage student in next year's general election.

They have pledged to deliver their five main manifesto pledges in under 140 characters to young people on the social network.

"I am delighted to support the campaign," said the leader of the Green Party, Natalie Bennett. "For real change in our democracy, it is vital that younger voters get more involved in politics. This is one step towards that."

Research by Youth charity vInspired's Swing the Vote campaign has revealed that almost half of 16-to-25-year-olds would like to see party leaders deliver their election promises via social media, such as on Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

More than two in three (67 percent) said that politics would be easier to understand if delivered on Twitter, and 70 percent said that if all the parties delivered their promises in this way, they would be more likely to vote.

The charity is calling on political leaders to engage young people and ensure that politics is relevant to them. 

60 per cent of the under-25s said that they were more likely to follow a political figure on Twitter if they came across as "more human".

After the success of Obama's election and reelection marketing campaigns through Facebook, and the recent willingness of politicians to take up their smartphones to publish selfies, the rise of online for political leaders is clear.

However, many argue that politicians are already doing this, by pushing their pledges, views and promises on Twitter.

"Every UK political party is already using Twitter to push their policies and manifestos," said Kadhim Shubber, 24.

23-year-old Binita Mehta, chair of Hertfordshire Conservative Future for under-30s, said, "I'm not sure the release of a manifesto via social media will make any difference in engaging young people. 

"Instead, policy relevant to them through info-graphics on Twitter or amusing and shareable posts on Facebook will be the best use of the medium."

Singer Paloma Faith is also supporting the campaign.

"I always vote," she said. "A lot of people tell me that they don't vote because they don't feel like there is anyone worth voting for, but that means everyone who does vote has their voice heard."

Under-25s currently account for 14 per cent of the electorate, with 6.8 million potential voters.

Over half of the 3,000 who were surveyed have signed an online petition, and one in five (19 per cent) have boycotted a company's product or service.

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