In my third year during the Winter 2019 semester, I took the course CMN 288: Communication and Social Media as one of my Professionally Related courses. As a Marketing Management student, I decided to take the course because social media is important for marketers to have a handle on. Little did I know at the time, that I would get to speak on the national news thanks to this class!
Throughout the course, I learned about social media’s evolution, the cultural industries including memetic material (yes, memes!!), designing content for spreadability, the utilization of different social media platforms, visual design for social media and websites, social media analytics and the creation of effective social media campaigns. The assignments for the class included personal branding on social media, analyzing social media readings, and my personal favourite, creating a social media campaign in small groups about an idea, and not a product. We were required to utilize at least two social media platforms, create a website, and have a tabling event with at least one visual material.
After forming our groups for the project, my group members and I brainstormed ideas on what we thought would be an interesting campaign to run, and my idea ended up being what we went forward with. Young people have notoriously been known for having low voter turnouts in elections, and we wanted to run a campaign that would be part of changing that. This was a powerful and relevant time to run a campaign like this in Ontario as we recently had a provincial election in the past year, and the results had caused a lot of protests by young people. The idea was to run a campaign that would get more people involved in the voting process and limit the need for future protests. This was especially important as the Canadian federal election would be happening during the next Fall semester. I believe the strong feelings young people have towards this issue is what made our campaign a success.
We decided to name our campaign Youth Vote for Change, and we created a logo that would resonate with all Canadians by utilizing colours from all party logos. We developed a website on Weebly and social profiles on both Facebook and Instagram. We hoped to reach our goal of motivating young people to vote by sharing information about how to vote and statistics about previous young people’s voter turnouts. We knew that video content would capture student’s attention, so I took on the role of creating three videos for the campaign. We interviewed students about their experience with voting at Ryerson’s Student Learning Centre (SLC). Unfortunately, when I edited the videos I noticed we had an issue with our microphone, but I was still able to utilize some of the audio, and I added subtitles.
Our first video focuses on the importance of voting. I shared the video throughout various Ryerson Facebook groups, and we got over 700 views in a week.
To kick off our campaign, we asked our peers at Ryerson University whether they feel it is important to vote in our political elections. Let’s hear what they had to say!#YouthVote4Change#RyersonU#RU #TRSM #SLC #vote #Toronto
Posted by Youth Vote For Change on Tuesday, April 2, 2019
The second video was focuses on the confusion around the voting process. We utilized the same processes for sharing this video, and we managed to receive over 1400 views in less than a week.
Many young people are confused and uninformed about political parties, their policies, and the voting process in general! Let’s see what some Ryerson students had to say about it. We understand! Confusion and uncertainty around the voting process is felt amongst many of us. We all realize the importance of our voting right, but we may be unsure of how to exercise it. We want to change that.#YouthVote4Change#RyersonU#RU #TRSM #SLC #vote #Toronto
Posted by Youth Vote For Change on Friday, April 5, 2019
Lastly, we asked students what they knew about the new changes that would be happening to the Ontario Student Assistance Program and if they would be voting in the next election. We were ecstatic to hear the positive responses about future voting. This video received the most views with more than 1500 views over half of a week.
The Ford government has made some big changes to OSAP. A lot of students are unaware of these changes, and how it will affect them. Those students that are informed are preparing for the consequences.Let’s see what Ryerson students are saying about these changes!#YouthVote4Change#RyersonU#RU #TRSM #SLC #vote #Toronto
Posted by Youth Vote For Change on Friday, April 5, 2019
During the middle of the week, we also held two tabling events at the Ted Rogers School of Management building and the SLC. Our videos played during our tabling sessions, and we gave away Basil Box coupons (thanks for sponsoring us Basil Box!) and free cookies to those who stayed to talk to us for a minute about youth voting. We also handed out pamphlets that broke down how to vote and, we answered common questions young voters may have. The majority of people we spoke to did not vote in the last election, which is reflective of the entire demographic. Our goal of raising awareness was successfully achieved as the majority of these people said they would vote in the next election.
Fast forward a few months to August when the federal election in October was only months away, and news outlets were looking to have the youth perspective on their show. CTV‘s national Your Morning show producers found our campaign, and they contacted us through Facebook messenger to see if any of our group members would be interested in talking about youth voting for an upcoming segment. My other group member Adam and I decided that it would be a unique opportunity to spread a positive message, and we decided to go on the show.
The segment ended up being almost eight minutes long, and it also involved one other Ryerson student. Entertainment journalist Ben Mulroney, who also happens to be the son of former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, was super kind and made sure we felt comfortable before interviewing us.
Overall, the experience of being on CTV’s Your Morning show was a positive one, as I thoroughly enjoyed sharing my thoughts on youth voting, but I also thought it was special to see the inner working of Bell Media’s studio. I have always been a fan of Bell Media and I hope to one day work in marketing for the entertainment industry, so it was enjoyable to see Bell Media from a whole new perspective.
The featured image is from The Loop.