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YouTube Stars Speak Out For Orlando

It goes without saying that here at USfluence our hearts go out to the friends and family of the 49 people killed (and 53 injured) in Orlando at a gay nightclub on June 12th. Our hearts are heavy with sadness after this hate-fueled attack on such an inclusive and vibrant community in our country.

In light of this atrocity, it becomes difficult to understand what to do to help those affected. Despite this difficulty, many YouTubers have spoken out with love and support for the victims. Their collective voice has asked their viewers to demand change from their elected representatives.

It is important to remember that these YouTube stars can make such a difference in their communities and in their country, to bring attention and change. In such a dark time, it gives us hope when we can shine a light on those who use their position of influence to make the world a better place.


In a powerful and emotional video Hannah Hart talks about the danger of sitting on the sidelines as something awful happens. She urges her viewers to act by approaching their representatives and challenge them to change the current gun laws.


Tyler Oakley, speaking as a member of the LGBTQ community offered his support, love and advice for those within the community. He echoes the sentiments of Hannah, thoughts and prayers are well and good, but real change happens when viewers engage their government and stand for change. Tyler makes an interesting comparison to the infamous ‘Rainbow Road’, a track in the racing game Mario Kart that was the hardest for him to complete, and how life for those in the LGBTQ community may not be trouble-free, but they will still be proud and battle through challenges.


Taking a stance, Colleen Ballinger stated her opinion on gun control in the United States. Much like Hannah and Tyler, she thinks that the best thing her viewers can do is to contact their representatives and change gun control laws in the United States. She takes it a step further expressing disbelief at the nature of gun culture in the United States and wants to see it evolve.

Many other YouTubers shared their thoughts in videos or on social media, realizing that lasting change happens when those affected by tragedy stand up and tell their governments the change they wish to see.

May the dead rest in peace, but USfluence stands with the community – not resting, not sitting, not shutting up. We stand with Orlando, with the victims, and with the community standing up and speaking out. Continue Reading No Comments

TIME Magazine Recognizes YouTube Influence

In April of this year, TIME released its list of the year’s 100 Most Influential People. This list included YouTube’s most-subscribed star – PewDiePie.

PewDiePie, whose real name is Felix Kjellberg, has gained a huge following out of his Let’s Play videos. He recently passed 43 million subscribers, adding roughly 20,000 every day, and was also the first-ever channel to reach 10 billion views.

It’s not the first time that PewDiePie has been named to a most influential list with TIME. In 2015 Kjellberg was named to TIME’s 30 Most Influential People on the Internet.

 TIME recognizes something that Thoughtful Media Group and its subsidiary company, USfluence, have known for over 7 years of successful business. YouTube creators have tremendous influence on their audience.

Creators like PewDiePie maintain extremely loyal fanbases. Studies have shown that more than half of 18-24 year olds feel closer to their favorite YouTube creator than a traditional celebrity. That loyalty often becomes action. 63% of millennials would try a product or brand recommended by a YouTube personality.

This is why we’ve seen an expanding market for influencer-driven advertising such as TMG’s Bomb Pops Endless Summer campaign and this campaign spot for the New York 11th Congressional District special election.

 In TIME’s official description of PewDiePie in its top 100 list, the gaming celebrity is described as the “pied piper of YouTube” by South Park’s Trey Parker. Parker then went on to describe the world of Let’s Play as ‘the birth of a new art form”. The South Park co-creator PewDiePie “has turned passive gaming into active, enjoyable entertainment.”

 This combination of entertainment and engagement has ushered in a new era of media, with YouTube reaching more 18-49 year olds than any cable TV network. Advertisers are naturally looking at YouTube ad delivery, and companies like Thoughtful Media and USfluence are key to navigating the space and keeping ads fresh, new, and engaging. Continue Reading No Comments

Clinton the Favorite, According to Poll by Harvard Institute of Politics

In April of this year, the Harvard Institute of Politics [IOP], located at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, conducted a poll to find out who Young Americans consider to be the front-runner for President in 2016.

61% of polled responses when given the choice between Clinton and Trump chose Clinton overwhelmingly. Only 25% said that they would vote for Trump.

Among young Democrats, Clinton leads Trump by 78 points (83%: Clinton; 5%: Trump), but among Republicans, Trump leads by only 44 points (57%: Trump; 13%: Clinton). Among Independents, Clinton has a 23-point lead (43%: Clinton; 20%: Trump), with 36% undecided.

Clinton leads significantly with both men and women. Among men, it’s 47% for Clinton, 29% supporting Trump; and the lead expands among women, with 57% for Clinton and 15% for Trump.

Clinton has a narrow 6-point lead among 18- to 29-year-old whites (38%: Clinton; 32%: Trump), but polls into the 70s with both the black and Hispanic communities. Among African Americans, Clinton leads Trump 76% to 5%, and among Hispanics, she has a similar-sized lead at 71% to Trump’s 9%.
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Millennial and Minority Voters Face Powerful Opposition at the Polls

Millennials are increasingly more likely to face long waits at the polls in comparison to their older counterparts and are likely to find themselves blocked out of primary voting because of laws severely limiting participation because of millennials’ preference to remain unaffiliated with a political party.   

Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law partnered with Craig Newmark of craigconnects and craigslist to conduct a survey of over 1,000 people over 18 years old. The results of this survey are alarming. Millennials face considerable barriers and will continue to, unless there is meaningful reform.

Millennials and Gen Xers are three to four times more likely to have to wait in line when compared to older voters such as Boomers. Even more astonishing, four times as many African-Americans and six times as many Latinos reported waiting at some polls for 30 minutes or more than whites who said the same.

Eleven states have closed primaries or caucuses, meaning that only voters who are registered as Republicans or Democrats prior to the primary date can participate in the nomination process for their candidates. This poses a major problem for millennials, as over 50% describe themselves as political independents. This non-affiliation may best describe their beliefs but it also guarantees that they will be locked out of the primary round of voting in states where the nomination process is limited to party members.

Over 19 million millennials who consider themselves independent are unable to vote in key states with closed primaries or caucuses, which leaves them having no input on determining the candidates offered to them in the general election.

In addition, 16 million registered voters in the U.S. do not have current government-issued photo ID. The people who generally do not have government IDs, according to the study, are senior citizens, college students, low-income households, people who primarily use public transit and transgender individuals whose gender identity doesn’t match their ID. Voter ID laws make it extremely difficult to participate in democracy for those most disenfranchised.

Reform advocates are pushing for innovations like automatic registration and online registration. 27 states are currently debating automatic registration to combat the enormous hurdles millennials face. In the face of such adversity many states have been proactive — 23 states have passed laws to modernize voting and 30 states now let citizens register online.

These laws, and potentially their reforms, are poised to have a major impact on the 2016 election cycle.
    
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Why Millennials Should Care About Local Politics

Just this past week, millennials turned out in record number at the New York primary. According to exit polls conducted by the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE):
  • 18-29 year olds cast 408,000 ballots, making up a 14% share of total voters
  • 322,000 voted Democrat (78% of total ballots cast by 18-29 year olds)
  • 18-29 year olds split 65% to 35%, Sanders over Clinton
  • Senator Sanders commanded 81% of all 18-24 year olds
When compared to the 2008 presidential election, we saw almost 100,000 more 18-29 year olds show up to vote in New York. This runs counter to the stereotype that millennials “don’t care” about politics, and rather that they are ready to have their voices heard in this presidential election.

Millennials on average are more liberal than their older counterparts and are increasingly more frustrated with the establishment; but to make any real and lasting changes they must turn out for local elections.

While it’s amazing to see record breaking voter turnout in Presidential elections, the real nitty gritty of politics is won and lost at the local level. Local politics is a place young people have tended to avoid. For example, in the 2014 midterm elections, where no presidential race occurred, less than 20% of people between the ages 18-29 voted. Sadly, this was the lowest ever recorded.

In a poll of 1,617 people between 15-34 years old by the Foundation for European Progressive Studies found that 68% of all respondents think that politicians ignore the views of young people. In the same poll, a mere 7% said they have turned out for a political meeting.

This disconnect is real.  

Young people feel jilted, and politicians are not responding. Despite a generally negative view towards government, 64% said they would vote if they were aware of an election tomorrow. It seems both sides of the fence are stuck with inaction, except when it comes to presidential politics.  

Real consequences have stemmed from this inaction. 70% of all state legislators are majority Republican and 60% of all states have Republican Governors. If the right controls state legislators they are free to redistrict areas in their state to align with more Republican ideals. The system isn’t fair, but it can be challenged.

As previously mentioned, millennials are more liberal than older generations, but turnout less to vote. It’s going to take work on behalf of millennials to get involved, but it will also take work for politicians who share millennial values to reach out and connect.

With access to the internet rampant, there is almost no excuse to be uninformed. Here are some great websites to give individuals the knowledge necessary to get involved in local politics and make a difference.
  • Ballotpedia is a great resource to get information regarding candidates in local, state and federal elections as well as keeping up to date with ballot initiatives in your state.
  • Vote Smart formally known as Project Vote Smart, this website is a great tool to look up candidate and election information by zip code.
The next step is to get out there and push this presidential election momentum into every nook and cranny of the United States.

Since 2011, nearly one-third of 18-24 year olds’ TV viewing has migrated to the activities listed above. If politicians want to reach millennials they need to go where they are. Millennials are busy watching hilarious YouTube videos, binge watching Netflix, chatting over Facebook, obsessing over Tweets, sending stupid pictures via Snapchat, and reading hours away on Reddit.

As the political landscape evolves to accommodate the changes in media consumption politicians will have to adapt. Again, this is happening on the presidential level. Senator Bernie Sanders’ team released Snapchat geofilters before the New York primary, and a Super PAC supporting Hillary Clinton is slated to spend over $35 million on digital ads targeting millennials.  You would be hard pressed to find a state legislator who has anything more than a barely managed Facebook page — and that is a major problem.

The solution is likely meeting in the middle. The information “revolution” needs to be taken to the next level. Millennials need to know their mayors and state representatives, learning their agendas, and challenging them like what has been done on the national stage with Presidential candidates.

In turn, politicians will need to come to the middle as well. Utilization of social media and online video, speaking directly to young people in the mediums they are active within, and increasing authenticity through actions that appear less staged and more natural, will engage young people in ways they haven’t been. Continue Reading No Comments

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