Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Will Millennials Swing Election to Obama?

Since the establishment of the U.S. two-party system, American politics has been characterized by a persistent pattern of stable electoral results lasting about 40 years interspersed with realignments or makeovers that turn things upside down.
Two underlying driving forces produce all realignments: the coming-of-age of a sizable dynamic generation of young Americans and a major advance in communications technology. While the Baby Boomers and their love of television produced America’s last political makeover in 1968, this year’s election will result in a realignment driven by the political emergence of America's largest generation, the Millennials, born between 1982 and 2003, and their Internet-based social networking technologies.

Almost forty million Millennials will be eligible to vote in November and they currently favor Obama over McCain by about a 2:1 margin. Should that unified attitude hold until election day, their numerical strength would provide Senator Obama more than an eight million vote margin on election day among young voters, a pickup of more than six million votes over the level of support John Kerry’s received in 2004 among this same age group.

The number of Millennials in the electorate will only grow as more of them reach voting age and their presence in the electorate will completely transform how our government is run, and by whom, in this year’s election and for forty more years thereafter.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Millennials even play games for civic purposes

A major new study by the Pew Research Center with support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation contradicts a lot of myths about the type of games Millennials play and the role gaming plays in their lives.
The conventional wisdom, based upon Gen Xers initial gaming activities, believes that teens, particularly boys, play violent games and use that activity to exhibit a great deal of anti-social attitudes. But now that all American teens are Millennials, the generation's group orientation and interest in finding win-win solutions is completely shattering this stereotype. Just as Millennials use the liberating technology of the Internet to actually increase group interaction through social networking, the generation has appropriated gaming technologies to also accomplish their civic oriented agenda.
The Pew study showed that almost all teens play games, both boys and girls and that:
Game playing is social, with most teens playing games with others at least some of the time.
· 82% play games alone at least occasionally, though 71% of this group also plays games with others.
· 65% of gaming teens play with others in the same room.

And their game playing also incorporates many aspects of civic and political life.
· 76% of youth report helping others while gaming.
· 44% report playing games where they learn about a problem in society.

The studies results confirm other observations about the interaction between technology and generations. Technology in and of itself is neutral and valueless. The attitudes and beliefs of the generation using the technology is what determines how the technology will be used and to what ultimate purpose.