David Gergen: Social Media, Politics and the Millennial Generation

[ 0 ] June 29, 2013 |

David Gergen expected social media to play a large part in the 2012 presidential election. But the longtime presidential advisor and CNN political analyst was stunned when it sparked such a high political interest from the Millennial Generation.

“Looking back now, I think it surprised everyone,” Gergen said in an interview with genConnect at the 2013 Aspen Ideas Festival. “The youth engagement turnout was much, much higher than people expected.”

Watch David Gergen speak on the impact of social media and the Millennial Generation on the 2012 election and President Obama’s White House win, and his predictions for the 2016 presidential election at the Aspen Ideas Festival:

WATCH: World’s Leading Experts to Inspire at Aspen Ideas Festival 2013

According to Gergen, even Mitt Romney’s campaign was not prepared for the pull that minorities, the female population and the Millennial Generation would have. “The Romney campaign never thought about preparing a defeat statement because they thought they were going to win and they didn’t expect all those young people to turn out,” he said.

Although social media helped the Obama campaign mobilize and connect with young voters, Youth VoteGergen says it was the social research that really played an integral part in getting the Millennial Generation involved.

Related: Why TIME Is Wrong About the ‘Me Me Me’ Generation, By Jack Myers

“They learned how to message in ways that were really persuasive,” says Gergen. “Instead of calling the young people and saying the ‘country’s fate hinges on you,’ they said ‘everyone’s coming out. You have to come and join the party.’ They want to be a part of something like that.”

Heading into the 206 presidential election, Gergen believes it is important to not wait for Washington when it comes to change, but for young people to go out and make the change themselves. And candidates need to go into the cities if they want to tap into the heart of this influential generation.

“I think the future of this generation is going to be much more city-oriented,” says Gergen.  “For me, get out in those cities and change them.”

Click here for more wisdom on the Millennial Generation and the Internet Generation from media ecologist Jack Myers, author of Hooked Up: A New Generation’s Surprising Take on Sex, Politics and Saving the World,

David Gergen is a professor of public service and director of the Center for Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School.  He serves as a senior analyst for CNN and contributes to Parade Magazine.  In the past, Gergen served as white house adviser for four U.S. presidents: Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Clinton.  Connect with Gergen on Facebook and Twitter

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Category: Aspen Ideas Festival 2013

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About David Gergen: David is a professor of public service and director of the Center for Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School, positions he has held for the past decade. In addition, he serves as a senior [...]
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