Voting rights emerged as the top response when asked what people would consider the power of turning 18 years old, according to a new survey from Twitter India. With this empowering insight, Twitter is launching a social initiative called #PowerOf18 aimed at encouraging the youth of India to contribute to public debate and participate in civic engagement in the upcoming election season. Supported by Twitter’s mission to serve the public conversation, the initiative was launched by Jack Dorsey, CEO & Co-Founder, Twitter and Maya Hari, Vice-President & Managing Director, Asia Pacific, Twitter in a Townhall chat with the students of IIT Delhi today. The campaign launch is marked by an emoji activated by the #PowerOf18 hashtag.
The research conducted with over 3,600 respondents aged 18 – 30 year olds, comprising Twitter and non-Twitter users, focused on people’s attitude in India in shaping the political and social environment. The survey found an overwhelming 94% of respondents indicating that they would vote in the upcoming elections. 87% of Indians surveyed believe that voting makes you a responsible citizen and more than half (53%) are voting because they want to make a difference.
The study also pointed towards the rising importance of social media for information consumption. 57% of youth surveyed would turn to social media to find out what’s happening in India and around the world, a percentage higher than all other mediums including newspapers. 69% of Twitter users surveyed always stay up to date with political news and events versus 44% of non-Twitter users.
Additionally, the survey found Twitter users more engaged in civic discussion versus non-Twitter users. 59% of Twitter users actively engage with and raise concerns to the government on issues that affect them or their community versus 37% of non-Twitter users. Two in three Indian Twitter users believe that they are contributing to the public debate by posting on Twitter.
In relation, Twitter India aims to encourage the youth of India with #PowerOf18 to leverage the platform for public conversation and vote for the future they seek. As part of the initiative, Twitter is kickstarting the initiative with an online video series on @TwitterIndia featuring young personalities across India such as Indian singer Jassie Gill (@JassieGill), Indian boxer Nikhat Zareen (@Nikhat_Zareen), writer, poet and#MeTooIndia voice Mahima Kukreja (@AGirlOfHerWords), sharing about their inspirations and their view of #PowerOf18. Twitter seeks to work with more like-minded partners and personalities to create awareness of the importance of voting.
Announcing the initiative at IIT Delhi today, Maya Hari, Vice-President & Managing Director, Asia Pacific, Twitter said, “Our philanthropic mission is to make the world a better place by harnessing the positive power of Twitter. Our company embraces this mission by focusing our support where we can make the greatest impact. Today, we launch #PowerOf18 to encourage the youth of India in taking your place as changemakers and join the most important public conversation for the country – the state and national elections.”
The #PowerOf18 campaign launch at IIT Delhi, concluded with a Q&A round where students had the opportunity to submit their questions to Jack with #PowerOf18.
Several questions focused around Twitter’s role in shaping society and culture, youth activism, upcoming general elections and the importance of voting were raised during the Townhall at IIT Delhi:
Twitter will be fuelling #PowerOf18 conversations through @TwitterIndia as part of this initiative.#PowerOf18 will serve as a resource for all young Indians to find more information about the elections, support social causes they are passionate about, and join the public conversation. The platform aims to engage more young people in India to contribute to public debate and work with like-minded partners that share the same objective of encouraging civic engagement among the youth.
The nationwide survey was conducted with 3,622 youth respondents from India between 24 September – 19 October 2018. The survey methodology qualifies the respondents as minimally secondary literate, aged between 18 – 30 years old.