Guess what. I’m a millennial. And that means, for the next few years, until all those 14-year-old coder kids grow enough chest hair to be able to name the next president—a president who won’t be either the first female or person of color, I’d add—I’m pretty much the wokest, votingest force in the universe. For a moment, I wasn’t so sure my unequivocal political significance would hold firm—especially since Ken Bone started trending. But then Bone blew his whole moment (#blessed). Sorry, Bone. Learn how to use the internet, Bone. Didn’t actually see anyone wearing your red sweater on Halloween, Bone.
Facebook. Snapchat. Instagram. You name it, they all want me—to vote. Now some may say that’s only because all of these social media platforms are helmed by
crazy-ass conservatives who frame themselves as libertarians democrats who know the youth vote skews liberal, and so by activating me, they can load the ballot box through an initiative that's probably some sort of tax deduction.
But I know the truth. I am very important. I’ve always been important, I am most certainly destined for additional importance, and I am obviously destined to pick a very important president. Probably the most important president of all time—or at least since Hamilton. So I’ve stepped forward and done an important thing that all of you no doubt want—even need—me to do. I’ve ranked all of the millennial voting ads on social media. Or as I call it, media. Boom. Your mind was just blown.
And if you disagree, that is your right. But I’m sorry, the comments have been disabled. This post is a designated safe space.
Kik, you did nothing! I even messaged you like, "where do I vote" and you ghosted.
Twitter, where's my "go vote" intervention? I don't see anything. And since I disagree with that decision, you know what that means. Imma organize thousands of people to harass just one of your employees, dox them, leak their most intimate of photographs, and eventually make them so afraid for their life that they enter witness protection. And from what I can tell, you can't do anything to stop me because you don't do anything to stop your users who engage in that sort of behavior!
Sorry, got sidetracked there. On to more voting stuff!
A push notification hits my phone. It's Instagram! THE Instagram. Wow!
"Election Day is on Tuesday! Watch Instagram's election story and be sure to vote!" it says.
I tap the notification (I'm really good at using my phone). I watch Instagram's story as instructed—which to be honest, feels more like an advertisement for a feature of Instagram I never use than some sort of voting gift from the social media gods. But I digress. It tells me to vote, and to check out its profile for a link on looking up polling options. Because Instagram's stories can't link anywhere or anything.
I do check out its profile. And I see a very blue hyperlink spelling out an entire website "gttp:votinginfoprojectorg/?ig"
Opening the link, I'm brought to a web page where I can enter my address and find my polling spot. It's all fine and surely well intentioned, and yet at the same time, this convoluted "check our profile!" solution to getting out the vote is also proof that Instagram is the strangest of walled gardens in 2016. I'm not sure Instagram fixed the hassles of voting, but it certainly demonstrated how its own platform is broken.
Snapchat did a pretty good job. (Follow me I follow back!) It has a "Go Vote" air horn filter now. Follow me I follow back! You push it and confetti blows in your face—a cacophonous distraction that is quite unintentionally the perfect distillation of this whole election. Also, follow me I follow back! The team should be proud of themselves—even if it covers a larger amount of my face than I prefer my selfies to contain. But I’m never gonna use it; I don’t snap anything if doesn’t include a puppy nose filter and those eyes that make me look like I’m straight out of some lewd Japanese cartoon thread that Ken Bone would forget to scrub from his Reddit history. (Luckily, there’s a sponsored Hillary hair filter that I suspect will be a much bigger hit.) Oh, and follow me I follow back!
Shucks, this message from Obama is great. He showed up on top of my Spotify feed as I was loading my Songs Pitchfork Loves That I’m Actually Meh About playlist, and he reminded me that Election Day is Tuesday. I was a little bummed that he didn’t thank me for overcoming all the obstacles in my life, making it to the polls in 2008 (when I might remind you that Uber didn’t even exist yet), and single-handedly electing him to be our first black president.
Obviously I quit Facebook again months ago, and only know about this because I had to check through Skyler’s phone to see if Kale was posting about me again. I definitely don’t have a ghost account where I follow Kale, Beyoncé, and like, three friends from grade school (one of whom would make a great Catfish), but I wouldn’t, really.
Anyway, Facebook has a very clear message to get you to vote. It lists options to look up your polling place, invite friends to go with you, pre-check who is on the ballot (because it’s always filled with those ombudsman weirdos), and of course, SHAAARE when I vote. Which I will do. To save a little thing we like to call #DEMOCRACY.
In fact, Facebook's interventions seem like they're working. Earlier this year, when Facebook reminded Californians to vote, 123,279 people registered or updated their registration that same day. It was the fourth largest registration day in the state's history.
I know Google is tracking everything I say, every term I search, and everywhere I go—and I LOVE IT. Google lets anyone feel like a Kardashian (not that, with 874 Instagram followers, I’m all that far away).
Anyway, clicking on the Google Doodle takes you straight to a card that shows me exactly where I need to go to vote. It's the same sort of card that shows you the symptoms of HPV when you search.
Right on top, there’s a map that links straight to my GPS. There's also a list of hours that the polling center will be open. And if I want to dig deep, there’s an extra link to register, along with a complete list of people on the ballot I’ll be voting on. I'm trying to think what else I could possibly use in the voting process that isn't here, and frankly, I can't. It's all been pulled up for me, automatically, contained in a little information window that doesn't kick me out to some third-party government site.
Not that I’m lazy—I just need purpose and inspiration from leadership figures, okay?—but I really appreciated how Google mined all the info it had on me to tailor its results to the most important person in the universe on Election Day: me. Even Facebook required a few extra clicks on, err, my friend's account before it could find my polling center. Google also leveraged its massive reach over my life, and reminded me about voting at the very top of my Gmail window, too—which, all jokes aside, was legitimately how I confirmed my polling place this morning. What can I say? I consume a lot of media in any given day, but the company's highly invasive strategy paid off.
That said, even Google has a lot to learn in getting out the vote. I mean, what good is all this boring information, really, without a recipe for blue Jello shots and the perfect Snapchat filter?