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Young voters speak out: you are what you tweet

Adella Beaini

By Adella Beaini


With the Federal Election just days away, and research finding that 56% of Twitter users are currently uncommitted on how they will vote, it is no surprise that parties and politicians have upped their game in a final bid to win over some voters – especially on Twitter. However, they seem to be forgetting a large group of us. Yes, the youth. If politicians have an outdated image of young people lacking any interest or knowledge in current issues and politics – they might want to reconsider, and this Election Day, a group of UTS students will hopefully show them why.

As a first time voter, I would consider myself an 18-year-old who does hold an interest and views on various political issues, like many other people my age. Yes, young people do want to get involved in politics, it’s just that our politicians haven’t fully recognised that yet. Our voices are being lost in the midst of these political campaigns, media coverage, and most importantly – in their policies. So how do we keep track of every party, politician, and policy, while being heard at the same time? Twitter of course!

The University of Technology Sydney (UTS) has partnered up with Twitter ahead of the Election Day, to launch a student news channel, providing Australians with a full day of coverage from marginal seats in NSW exclusively through Twitter and Periscope. Our team of over 25 students will provide 140-second video updates every 15 minutes, as well as additional coverage through our accounts, making it the largest student news team in NSW covering this election.

And if you think that wasn’t enough to prove that young people can get involved in politics, we will also have a team utilising the TwitterAU #BlueRoom as our live studio, where we’ll be hosting interviews and sharing news update style broadcasts.

A recent survey by Galaxy Research found that 60% of monthly Twitter users are aged between 18-34, with 66% of Australian Twitter users noting that Twitter has helped them formulate or reconsider their political views. Tony Broderick, Head of News and TV Partnerships, Twitter Australia said that: “In every election, Twitter is the key social platform for journalists and newsrooms. It’s the only tool that allows you to break news, share your coverage and discover real-time, public content from the scene and from the source.” That means Twitter will hold a great deal of power in influencing voters as they take to the polls this week.

As a first-year journalism student, I know this will be an opportunity to provide Australians with alternate coverage of the election, allowing a unique perspective and voice to be heard from our youths through Twitter. On Saturday, we want to stand out from the crowd and get our opinion out there, and that’s what we will be doing.

So a message to our leaders and politicians is that this Saturday as Australia prepares to cast their vote, remember that 1.5 million young Australians will also be voting. Our votes do count, do not dismiss our power, and it is about time we had our voices heard.

If you want to tune into our coverage, you will be able to find us on Twitter under the username @UTSreports or hashtag #UTSreports.