Changing Forms of Participation: Part 4

The transformation of communication and entertainment technologies into predominantly social forms of engagement and socially conscious political expression throughout the 1990s to the 2010s has provided young people with new and innovative ways to engage in what Gotlieb and Wells call ‘lifestyle politics’ (2012). Generation Y are incorporating their political and cultural beliefs into their everyday choices and using their preoccupation with entertainment technologies and processes, such as film and writing, to express themselves politically (Rankin, 2013). For example, the young filmmakers of Australian documentary Gayby Baby, Maya Newell and Charlotte McLellan, used social crowd-funding site Pozible and other online platforms such as Facebook and Vimeo to fund and popularize a 90 minute film project which explores the highly current and politically relevant subject of gay marriage, gay couples adopting children, and the lives of families built upon unconventional family models (Australian Film Foundation, 2013). In this case young Australians have used new, digital ways of participating in political discourse and talking about civil processes to express their lifestyle, their choices and their relevance to Australia’s changing political context.

New media, in particular, social media, has given the Australian ‘Millenials’ (McQueen) opportunities to share their political views with a wide audience and garner attention for the causes they see as important. They are efficient tools for broadening public awareness of campaigns, organizing physical protests, and spreading ideas, after all, ‘social media have become coordinating tools for nearly all of the world’s political movements,’ (Shirky, 2011).

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