Ask people over a certain age about Internet social media, and you’ll get a singular response:
“FaceTube? I don’t have much time left on this Earth. Why would I fritter it away on FaceTube? Now leave me alone so I can read my AARP magazine.”
Being around that certain age myself, I have probably uttered such lines. (Though I would not be caught dead with an AARP magazine.) That said, we can’t simply ignore these new online worlds.
You see, young people swim through social media like fish through water. They blog about their lunch date, “check in” to the restaurant online, and tweet pictures of their steak. They flock together to partake in internet culture — you know, pictures of animals who are disappointed in you, or taxidermy TV commercials, or animations of cats with Pop Tart bodies being propelled through space by rainbows to Japanese pop music. (76 million hits and counting!)
But more importantly, young people are influenced by what they see online.
For a taste, check out Barack Obama on Facebook. More than 26 million people have clicked to “like” his page. Of those, hundreds of thousands have shared the president’s campaign videos with friends. According to the Washington Post, in 2008 the president raised more than $500 million online.
But after four years of impotent leadership, the cracks are showing. Here’s a U.S. News headline from June 8: “Scott Walker’s Recall Victory Shows Barack Obama May Be Bleeding Youth Vote.”
Earlier this week, famed pollster John Zogby was quoted saying: “I truly am worried about today’s twenty-somethings…. They are our global generation and I have seen them move from hope and grand expectations for themselves and their world to anxiety and disillusionment.”
Now is the time to win hearts and minds. For more than four decades, that has been our mission: To shine light into dark places; to plant the seeds of conservatism in the fields of ignorance; to liberally (!) sprinkle the salt of mockery upon the Left’s goulash of absurdity.
The best way to ensure that conservatism can — to borrow a phrase — “win the future,” is to reach young people in their natural habitat: the Internet.
We need your help. As a non-profit, The American Spectator can only be as influential as its readers are generous. We’re planning to invest in social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, and roll out a series of articles by young journalists this fall. But we need your support.
Please give what you can — and know that your donation will be put to good use.