Group Photo of Fall 2022 Policy Research Internship Project “Impact of Civic Participation in Young Voters” with Snapchat
Group Photo of Fall 2022 Policy Research Internship Project “Impact of Civic Participation in Young Voters” with Snapchat

Fall 2022: “Impact of Civic Participation in Young Voters” with Snapchat

For the Fall 2022 semester, our POSC 395 Policy Research Internship students explored the barriers young people face when it comes to civic participation and researched the opportunities that Snapchat can provide to facilitate these experiences for young people. Students conducted a mixed mode survey that tested for correlations between young people’s past political involvement and future civic engagement. Students also examined messaging strategies and created informed recommendations about color schemas and Bitmoji use. They presented their extensive research and recommendations to our partner, Snapchat Policy Partnerships and Social Impact team.

Michelle Li, a junior majoring in Political Science, said this about her research experience:

“I had the opportunity to complete a research internship with Snapchat’s Policy Partnerships and Social Impact team, which works to provide Snapchatters with the necessary resources to be engaged citizens. Alongside my research group, I examined the ways that Snapchat’s voter registration and awareness campaigns can be improved to be more effective and closely tailored to the media consumption behaviors of teen users. This project was incredibly exciting, as Snapchat has already made a huge impact in encouraging young people to develop civic engagement habits, helping over 1,164,000 Snapchatters register to vote in 2020. Through this internship, I gained extensive knowledge about civic engagement messaging and youth political participation. I hope to see our recommendations and deliverables implemented in future Snapchat campaigns.”

Project: Impact of Civic Participation in Young Voters

USC Students: Liv Bohler, Cat Cornish, Michelle Li, Liam Rinehart, and Nayeon Ryu

Research Questions: How do young people decide to engage with a cause and/or organization? What messaging is most effective to engage young people around civics (elections, voting, volunteering, etc.) and encourage them to take civic action, particularly voting?

Policy Recommendations:

  1. Target South Dakota, Oklahoma, and Arkansas (states that have lower voter turnout).
  2. Use new Color Schemes (ex. Yellow and Purple).
  3. Push users to get involved in NGOs and then they will follow the pipeline of engaging in local/national elections.
  4. Promote fact checked news and emphasize the reliability of the information sources presented to users to encourage nonpartisan political messaging and reassure users of its accuracy.
  5. Provide channels and encourage users to interact with and comment on promoted political news outlets that can only be viewed by a group of that users’ choice, one outside of normal “chatting.”
  6. Utilize Snapchat as a tool for relational organizing and as a content machine. Use features like Bitmoji Stories to boost civic participation and related topics in a fun and engaging way.
  7. Gear specific content to individual users based on their birthday and location in advance, even before their 18th birthday.
  8. Create Snapchat Voter Registration Glossary that is accessible by a Voter Terminology Trivia Filter (click through trivia questions).
  9. Implement Sarcasm and Irony Induced Slogans via filters/notifications.

Read the group’s full research presentation.

Watch the video presentation on “Impact of Civic Participation in Young Voters.”