Changing Forms of Participation: Part 5

Informative and organizational function is facilitated by both Twitter and Facebook, combining to generate a forum for young people to express their political beliefs. For example, a group of young individuals have used Facebook to stimulate debate about current major party policies towards immigration and change the attitudes of the general public towards migrants and refugees. They have used social media, predominantly Twitter and Facebook, to prompt friends, family and colleagues to participate in their movement and share information. Their Facebook page named ‘I Am A Boat Person’ shows the effectiveness of using social media to spread ideas and debate, exemplified in the fact that within a couple of days of the page being set up, their new likes per week had risen to 515 likes p/w (30 April) and they had a total of 1 710 individuals talking about their page at their peak thus far (29 April-5 May), mostly within the 18-24 age demographic (Facebook, 2013).

Twitter is used by young Australians as a new way to participate in debate with Australian politicians and share their thoughts about current issues. Australian politicians create connections with the public by creating accounts through which they can participate in current debate about policies and issues important to their electorate, for example, the current Prime Minister Julia Gillard (@JuliaGillard), Opposition Leader Tony Abbott (@TonyAbbottMHR), Shadow Communications and Broadband Minister Malcolm Turnbull (@TurnbullMalcolm), and Australian Greens Leader Christine Milne (@senatormilne), all have Twitter accounts who are either run by their employees and mediated by the politician who they represent, or are personally run by the politician themselves, and regularly interact with the public. Using these Twitter handles and furthermore, popular Twitter hashtags, such as #auspol and, when participating in ABC show Q&A, #qanda (Australian MP Tweets, 2013), young Australians are able to engage with their elected representatives and the media on a new, more accessible level which gives them a greater opportunity to have their thoughts on Australian politics and civil concerns heard and included in policy creation and parliamentary debate. Not only can they be heard and listened to, but we have seen a new phenomenon on Twitter where many are learning more about Australian political processes and civil processes by questioning their local members and other relevant accounts (Matthewson, 2013), resulting in a more politically educated Australian youth.


One thought on “Changing Forms of Participation: Part 5

  1. chichi222 says:

    Your post reminds me of the Arab Spring taken place in Tunisia in 2010. Many people in Arabic countries were also able to engage to the revolutionary wave of demonstrations which is promotion of the political changes. Twitter would be a strong weapon in this situation if it is used appropriately.


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