Donald Trump has used social media to his advantage. PHOTO COURTESY OF MAX PIXEL

Since the rise of Facebook, social media has played a critical role in not only the daily lives of millennials, but it has also played a critical role in politics. Mark Zuckerberg posted in June that Facebook now has 2 billion members. That amounts to about 27 percent of the world’s population. With those kinds of numbers, it is no wonder why social media has become a forefront in political influence. A politician or political campaign can now reach an audience of 2 billion people who actively use Facebook with the click of one button. A tweet that’s 140 characters (or 280, now) can start conflicts between constituents and politicians. The game of politics has evolved.

Politicians now have campaigns specifically for social media and huge platforms on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and any other form you can think of. Many political scientists credit former President Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign success in part to his brilliant use of social media to increase the reach of his campaign. Social media has even become a platform for politicians to talk about issues and discuss directly with their constituents.

Not only is social media now a major campaign concern for politicians, but it also allows more influence and freedom of information to users. Now more than ever there is a higher level of democracy due to social media platforms. People can tweet their opinions, start grassroots campaigns, and go viral, which can now all impact the decisions and campaigns of major politicians.

Students from Boston University can influence politics and the world affairs right from where they are. So speak up and start now.