College Debate 2016 Convention and Town Hall
Since College Debate 2016’s official kickoff on June 1, approximately 150 student delegates from all 50 states and the District of Columbia jumped on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat to engage their peers in the presidential election. Victoria Grijalva Ochoa of Arizona State University, for example, produced a video in which 40 students shared their thoughts on key issues the next president should prioritize. Victoria’s video captures the spirit of College Debate 2016 — utilizing social media to engage college students in the issues that matter most to America’s youth.
Selected as the Voter Education Partner for the Commission on Presidential Debates, Dominican University of California launched College Debate 2016 as an initiative to inspire young Americans to participate in the November election. The student delegates, representing their respective universities and colleges, began using #collegedebate16 in late Spring, reaching over one million social media users, according to Illinois State University’s Social Media Analytics Command Center (SMACC). Nathan Carpenter, Assistant Director of Convergent Media at Illinois State University analyzed Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram posts and concluded that social media mentions of #collegedebate16 averaged one post per hour, thereby making it extremely viral. The growth in the social network created by the delegates was captured visually by the following images. The top image shows the handles of social media users (each circle is a different user) who used #collegedebate16 between May 29 and June 5. The lines connecting the nodes illustrate the spread. In the image below, @collegedebate16 was a major source of social media activity.