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  • Screens from Snap's Run For Office project currently in action

    Snap, Inc. "Run for Office"

    Gen-Z loves politics—and Snap would like to help make that generation into more informed voters and representatives. Voter turnout among young people is increasing and leaped 79% in the 2018 cycle. Arguably, the stakes have never been higher as climate change, economic issues, an extended pandemic, labor concerns and overwhelming partisanship are dominating news headlines. In 2021, 1 in 10 of the generation is now eligible to run for office and youth representation is more important than ever. However, Gen Z, the most diverse generation in US history, is the least represented in government as just 6% of state legislators are under the age of 35. Snapchat recently launched “Run for Office” to help young people understand how important it is to turn 18 and enter public life.

    Snapchat has almost 530 million users in 2021 and is known as a “best friends” platform with active every day use. Run for Office is a civic initiative built within the app in a “Mini” (Snapchat’s term for in-app interactive experiences). Snapchat partnered with BallotReady, an extensive database of of election information, candidate issues, polling data and most importantly, opportunities to connect young users to recruiters to run in political races. In the 2020 election, over 70% of races in the US went uncontested.

    “We reach 90% of the US population age 13-24,” says Sofia Gross, Snapchat’s Head of Policy Partnerships and Social Impact. Gross started her political career doing grassroots work, knocking on doors and canvassing and recognizes how powerful the role of close friends are for support. “If you would've told me seven years ago that I would be working at a tech company, I would have definitely laughed,” says Gross, but that changed when she listened to political journalist Peter Hamby speak at her school about meeting voters where they are to get them involved. For Gen Z, that place is Snapchat.

    Using BallotReady data, Snapchat's Run for Office Mini shows open positions in local elections.

    Snapchat, Run for Office

    Since its launch on October 5, over 20,000 Snapchat users have shown interest in connecting with the recruitment organizations partnering with the platform. In addition, 46,000 users have used the tool to “nominate” a friend to run for office, building in an incredible foundational support structure for the budding politicians.

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    Run for Office is the next step in Snapchat’s increasingly civic endeavors. In 2020, Snapchat helped over 1.2 million users register to vote which displayed a clear sign of Gen Z’s interest in civics. Gen Z is far more politically engaged with social issues like race, climate change, and activism than previous generations and most them desire an activist government. Tools that enable education about civic life or provide opportunities to get involved are key to their success.

    Snapchat is telling its users that “not only can you run for office, but this is a very real opportunity in which you should run for office,” Gross says, “The really interesting part is that there weren't that many candidates running on the issues that Snapchat users cared about, especially down-ballot. One of the biggest goals we have in launching Run for Office is really normalizing and expanding the number of people who even consider understanding and really translating the issues they care most about and how to make a difference in their local communities.”

    Snapchat's Stickers and Filters help users nominate or support future candidates for office

    Snapchat, Run For Office

    The Run for Office Mini asks users to input the issues they’re most concerned about as well as their zip code. Snapchat then shows users which actions have the best opportunities based on statistics like which elections went uncontested or vacant positions. Snapchat has partnered with ten diverse candidate recruitment organizations for the user to connect with. As an example, Gross explains, “If you’re a female veteran who's non-partisan you can work with Running Start, New Politics or one of the email focused organizations out there.”

    Snapchat, known for its concern over privacy, only collects minimal data like email address, zip code and the user’s name. The recruitment partners help the young people learn how to become a representative and understand the issues.

    Now in its second week, Run for Office has seen the most engagement in states like North Carolina, Florida and Texas. Gross says, “This generation is engaged with what is happening in today’s conversation and they care fiercely about issues that really drive them.”

    Democracy can be confusing and sometimes overwhelming. One thing that Gen Z knows how to do well is use social media. Run for Office connects with the generation where they are, empowering young people to get involved and participate in civic life. Making actual change requires more than posting on social media, it means getting involved in public life. Civic tools can help a concerned generation make a difference.

    Source : https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamiecohen/2021/10/15/snapchat-wants-gen-z-to-run-for-office/

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