There's a slew of interactive tools and quizzes emerging, aimed at those in need of a little election guidance, notes Crowd DNA insight exec Charu Agarwal, with young voters a particular target...
With April comes plenty of sunshine, the Apple Watch and the lively onslaught of political campaigns as the UK general election nears.
Those wishing to avoid the inevitable “Who’re you voting for?” might struggle while manifesto madness is in full swing, padding out news feeds and social media. I’ve certainly enjoyed the swell of Farage memes appearing alongside the usual food-stagrams and festival chatter.
But speaking as a millennial, while it’s fun to joke, rest assured we’re still very serious about our vote…
At Crowd DNA, we know well that the young voters’ disillusionment with current government isn’t apathy towards politics as a whole. This past year has seen the rise of the Activist youth tribe and online arenas such as Facebook and Twitter expanding as places for expression and discussion.
The wider internet has in turn reacted with new offerings. A number of interactive tools and quizzes have been rearing their heads, aimed at those in need of a little guidance. Here’s a run-down of some of the emerging players…
Verto is a tool designed with young people in mind. You’re shown three policy statements per topic (eg education). It’s Tinder-esque format lets you swipe left to agree and right to disagree – the more swipes you do, the bigger a picture it builds about the parties that relate best to your values. It also uses your location to compare results with nearby users and the national average.
The brains behind Verto is democratic movement, Bite The Ballot, whose aim is to get more young people voting. They’re taking steps in the right direction by condensing policies into easily digestible, bitesize sentences. However, when it comes to building an accurate picture of someone’s political makeup, the ‘less is more’ approach may limit how insightful, and ultimately useful, it actually is.
Another site, PositionDial, gives a more colourful analysis of where your views lie on the political spectrum. You’re shown a series of statements – eg I support the Human Rights Act UK – and asked to rate them on a scale of strongly agree to strongly disagree.
Beyond calculating which party you sit in, it also intends to educate its users by personalising the feed with news based on your attitudes as well as opposing views.
The website’s tagline of ‘Vote for policies, not personalities…’ sums up how it functions. You simply pick the topics you’re interested in, it anonymously lists all the policies and you pick your favourites.
It’s one of the more recognised options, having been around in the 2010 election. This time around, they’ve embellished it with lots of interactive tickboxes and visuals. While three or four topics is more than enough to get your head spinning circles, it seems like the best tool for genuinely helping users compare parties and make an informed decision about their vote.
The conclusion? Gamified tools like these seem to be taking steps in the right direction. Potential for shareability is high, especially among young people with limited knowledge but a desire to be heard. They’re clearly making politics more accessible. So while the future of online democracy is yet to be fully determined, let’s give it a vote of confidence for now.