Are you tweeting about the EU Referendum?

(Posted on 21/06/16)

Are you tweeting about the EU Referendum?

Twitter is enabling discussion about the upcoming EU referendum on 23 June by launching new emojis, which provide instant visual references when the vote is discussed within a tweet.

The emoji created, which has a black background with a neon pink ballot paper embellished on the front, appears when users post the hashtag #EURef. Prior to the registration deadline the emoji was a neon tick.

This is not Twitter’s first voyage into the world of politics; you may remember last year during the General Election Twitter teamed up with the Electoral Commission in an attempt to cut voter apathy, by regularly posting reminders to vote on members’ timelines. However, this is the first time Twitter has utilised its influence to actively encourage discussion and debate on the issue of the upcoming referendum.

Such a move by Twitter in conjunction with its work with the Electoral Commission represents smart thinking on its behalf. By creating a personalised emoji it not only seeks to actively engage all Twitter users in the debate, but it also specifically targets and looks to motivate younger voters. Twitter knows that emojis, whether we like it or not are part of the younger generation’s everyday life. They are a communication tool, and thus they are drawing younger voters into the world of current affairs.

The new emoji puts Twitter up there along with other social media platforms such as Facebook, which have been pioneering in the way that they allow their users to engage with politics, including status updates that let friends know you have voted and who you have voted for. It is finally being realised that social media can be exploited as a platform for political engagement.