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Tweet-Up: 7 Tips From Charlie Kirk on Engaging Young People!

Weekly tweet-up recap

February 20, 2013

Today, Watchdog Wire hosted a tweet-up with Charlie Kirk of Turning Point USA. He offered us some great advice on how to reach out to young people and get them passionate about the ideas of government transparency and accountability.

Here’s what Charlie had to say about Turning Point USA, which he started as a high school senior:

Charlie’s group focuses on teaching young people about economic freedom, and he couldn’t have chosen a better time: polls indicate that America’s youngest voters are open to the idea of an expanded welfare state. Here are 7 of the best tips he offered Citizen Watchdogs today:

Tip #1: Make them aware of the powerful journalism tool they may take for granted

Smartphones like Apple’s iPhone are so ubiquitous on college campuses today that it’s easy to forget exactly how much they can do. Citizen journalism is so much simpler today than it was 5 years ago, because now our digital camera, video camera, dictaphone, Facebook profile, Twitter handle, and YouTube account all travel with us in our pockets. When young people see something happening, they can use their smartphone to instantly let the world know.

Tip #2: Tell them how much power they can wield

The age barrier is so 1995, but young people are still told by society that they need to wait their turn and know their place. Simply reassuring young people that the world is willing to listen to them if they have a valuable message could spur them into action.

Tip #3: Get their attention on Twitter

President Obama used the hashtag “#DontDoubleMyRates” to mobilize student support for his plans for the college loan industry. Charlie gave us three hashtags that young people are using to talk about government accountability today.

Tip #4: Get creative and make them laugh

Growing up in the era of viral YouTube videos, Internet memes, and social sites like Reddit, this generation loves a good laugh–particularly a parody that blends politics with pop culture. Charlie mentioned Sen. Marco Rubio’s take on the latest Internet sensation; another example of this occurred in last year’s race for governor of Washington state, when a candidate surged in the polls after posting a video of himself dancing to Psy’s “Gangnam Style.”

Tip #5: Be up on social trends, because you know they will be

Heard of Reddit? If not, you’re most likely over 25. The site’s simple layout may remind you of the Drudge Report, and the concept isn’t all that different: the day’s most popular postings are at the top of the page, but instead of being placed there by an editor, they’re voted up and down by the site’s visitors. President Obama used Reddit to reach out to younger voters in 2012, but few other candidates did.

Tip #6: Get fiscal

Everyone finds social issues (abortion, gay rights, etc.) divisive, but young people especially so. They love to talk about fiscal issues, however, because they’re the ones who will spend their lives paying down our debt! Sites like Watchdog Wire and Charlie’s Turning Point USA focus solely on fiscal issues, which make them appealing to young people.


Tip #7: Speak their language

Today’s youths grew up in the age of cable news and nasty politics, and are dying to hear some optimism–they have no recollection of Reagan’s “Morning in America” or even Clinton’s “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow,” but are all too familiar with the “war on women.” If you can craft a positive message, young people will listen.

Enjoy these tips? Want to learn more? Watchdog Wire hosts tweet-ups every Wednesday at 12PM ET so mark the date down on your calender! We hope to see you next Wednesday!


Kevin Palmer

Staff writer at Franklin Center. Contact me at kevin@watchdogwire.com

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