Los medios de comunicación son una de las plataformas más importantes que utilizan los gobiernos para comunicarse con la ciudadanía. Debates, conferencias, franjas electorales, etc. son parte de las acciones que ejecutan los políticos para captar la atención de los ciudadanos. ¿Pero la información política que presentan los medios tiene algún impacto en las preferencias de los ciudadanos? Hasta el momento la evidencia de investigaciones señala que la información de los medios (nuevos y tradicionales) sólo refuerza el interés por la política en aquellos interesados en ella, pero no cautiva a aquellos que "no están ni ahí". Y qué mejor grupo que los jóvenes para "no estar ni ahí". En el caso chileno la participación política de los jóvenes es baja. Ya sea por la ausencia de incentivos para que se inscriban en los registros electorales o los pocos beneficios que consideran obtener al votar, los jóvenes no están muy interesados en "ejercer su ciudadanía". Si bien la última encuesta del INJUV señala que los jóvenes en Chile no tienen interés en participar en partidos políticos, utilizan la televisión para informarse sobre lo que pasa en el país.
Ya que esta encuesta no consulta sobre el interés de los jóvenes por los "nuevos medios" (sólo pregunta por Internet) no podemos tener información para estudiar el consumo mediático de las nuevas generaciones. Pero a simple vista, podríamos decir que si los jóvenes dicen informarse a través de la televisión y no se inscriben -más allá de otros factores- la información de los medios no estimula la participación ciudadana (entendida como votar o tener interés en política).
En EE.UU. los nuevos medios como Facebook, MySpace y los mismos diarios online son utilizados con frecuencia por jóvenes. Lo interesante es que -en el caso de las noticias- estas las leen más por la recomendación de los amigos que por el interés de estar "informado". En EE.UU. las primarias demócratas han generado una mayor participación política juvenil y a juicio de este artículo publicado en el New York Times, los jóvenes gringos tienden a esperar las noticias más que ir a buscarlas. Por esto lo que antes era el "boca a boca" hoy se convierte en el "link a link". Entonces atención candidatos, en Chile hay que monitorear lo que está pasando con los jóvenes y los nuevos medios. No todo es tener una cuenta en Facebook para ser un candidato "moderno".
Arturo Arriagada I.
March 27, 2008 New York Times
Finding Political News Online, the Young Pass It On
Senator Barack Obama’s videotaped response to President Bush’s final State of the Union address — almost five minutes of Mr. Obama’s talking directly to the camera — elicited little attention from newspaper and television reporters in January.
But on the medium it was made for, the Internet, the video caught fire. Quickly after it was posted on YouTube, it appeared on the video-sharing site’s most popular list and Google’s most blogged list. It has been viewed more than 1.3 million times, been linked by more than 500 blogs and distributed widely on social networking sites like Facebook.
It is not news that young politically minded viewers are turning to alternative sources like YouTube, Facebook and late-night comedy shows like “The Daily Show.” But that is only the beginning of how they process information.
According to interviews and recent surveys, younger voters tend to be not just consumers of news and current events but conduits as well — sending out e-mailed links and videos to friends and their social networks. And in turn, they rely on friends and online connections for news to come to them. In essence, they are replacing the professional filter — reading The Washington Post, clicking on CNN.com — with a social one.
“There are lots of times where I’ll read an interesting story online and send the U.R.L. to 10 friends,” said Lauren Wolfe, 25, the president of College Democrats of America. “I’d rather read an e-mail from a friend with an attached story than search through a newspaper to find the story.”
In one sense, this social filter is simply a technological version of the oldest tool in politics: word of mouth. Jane Buckingham, the founder of the Intelligence Group, a market research company, said the “social media generation” was comfortable being in constant communication with others, so recommendations from friends or text messages from a campaign — information that is shared, but not sought — were perceived as natural.
Ms. Buckingham recalled conducting a focus group where one of her subjects, a college student, said, “If the news is that important, it will find me.”
A December survey by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press looked broadly at how media were being consumed this campaign. In the most striking finding, half of respondents over the age of 50 and 39 percent of 30- to 49-year-olds reported watching local television news regularly for campaign news, while only 25 percent of people under 30 said they did.
Fully two-thirds of Web users under 30 say they use social networking sites, while fewer than 20 percent of older users do. MySpace and Facebook create a sense of connection to the candidates. Between the two sites, Mr. Obama has about one million “friends,” Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, his rival for the Democratic nomination, has roughly 330,000, and Senator John McCain, the presumed Republican nominee, has more than 140,000. Four out of 10 young people have watched candidate speeches, interviews, commercials or debates online, according to Pew, substantially more than people 30 and older.
Young people also identify online discussions with friends and videos as important sources of election information. The habits suggest that younger readers find themselves going straight to the source, bypassing the context and analysis that seasoned journalists provide.
In the days after Mr. Obama’s speech on race last week, for example, links to the transcript and the video were the most popular items posted on Facebook. On The New York Times’s Web site, the transcript of the speech ranked consistently higher on the most e-mailed list than the articles written about the speech.
The way consumers filter their news is being highlighted now that a generation of Americans is coming of age in the midst of a campaign that has generated intense interest and voter involvement. Exit polls in 22 states estimate t hat more than three million voters under the age of 30 participated in Democratic primaries this year, up from about one million four years ago.
In three of the most populous states — California, Texas and Ohio — the share of voters under 30 who turned out for Democratic primaries increased to 16 percent, up from less than 10 percent in 2004, according to exit polls by Edison/Mitofsky. In the Republican primaries, the increases in most states have been less striking but still visible.
“Young people are particularly galvanized in this campaign, and they have a new set of tools that make it look different from the enthusiasm that greeted other politicians 30 years ago,” said Lee Rainie, director for the Pew Internet and American Life Project. “They read a news story and then blog about it, or they see a YouTube video and then link to it, or they go to a campaign Web site, download some phone numbers, and make calls on behalf of a candidate.”
Media companies are benefiting from the heightened interest. CNN, which drew about 60,000 viewers ages 18 to 34 a night in February 2007, drew 218,000 on an average night this February, numbers that were increased by coverage of several presidential debates. Fox News and MSNBC also posted gains among young viewers last month, with both networks averaging more than 100,000 young viewers in prime time, according to Nielsen Media Research.
Although some college seniors may say they learned about Mr. Obama’s speech about race on CNN, more are likely to have seen it on YouTube, where it has been viewed almost 3.4 million times, or on Facebook, where it remains among the most shared links.
Candidates are capitalizing on this social development, and so are their supporters. A youth-minded music video called “Yes We Can” has been perhaps the biggest beneficiary. A musical version of Mr. Obama’s campaign speech made by the singer will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas and a bevy of celebrities, it was released on YouTube three days before the series of coast-to-coast nominating contests on Feb. 5. Counting hits on YouTube and other sites, the video has been viewed more than 17 million times.
To a lesser extent, videos of Mrs. Clinton and Mr. McCain have also been traveling through the online networks. A video of Mr. McCain asking citizens what issues matter most in the election has been viewed 300,000 times.
Rather than treating video-sharing Web sites as traditional news sources, young people use them as tools and act as editors themselves.
“We’re talking about a generation that doesn’t just like seeing the video in addition to the story — they expect it,” said Danny Shea, 23, the associate media editor for The Huffington Post (huffingtonpost.com). “And they’ll find it elsewhere if you don’t give it to them, and then that’s the link that’s going to be passed around over e-mail and instant message.”