This “10-week social media campaign” was a collaboration of Public Radio International (PRI), Mic, and 92Y (“92nd Street Y, Mic,” 2016). The UnConvention was composed of “a select group of young people from the US and abroad, ages 18-34, who...put the ideas, issues and opinions
Problems and Purpose
The purpose of The UnConvention was to provide young adults with multiple non-partisan, media platforms on which they deliberated on issues related to the 2016 Presidential election.
Background History and Context
The group was created on August 10, 2016 and disbanded after the election. The last post was on September 25, 2017 (“The UnConvention,” 2016); although the group is still accessible and people can still post on it if they desire.
Organizing, Supporting, and Funding Entities
The group was created and funded by PRI, Mic, and 92Y. PRI “is a global non-profit media company focused on the intersection of journalism and engagement to effect positive change in people’s lives” (“About PRI,” 2018). “Mic is the leading digital news company, reporting on the most important issues and diverse perspectives that challenge conventional thinking and give voice to the underrepresented” (“About us,” 2018). 92Y is “a nonprofit [organization]...[that] seeks to...provide...programs of distinction that foster the physical and mental health of human beings throughout their lives, their educational and spiritual growth and their enjoyment” (“92nd Street Y mission statement,” 2018). Other partners included the Institute of International Education, the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute, Tufts University Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life, 9/11 Memorial Museum, Ballot Ready, Housing Works, University of California Berkeley Goldman School of Public Policy, and Live Wire (“Participating partners,” 2016).
Participant Recruitment and Selection
The UnConvention used the participation techniques of targeted recruitment and self-selection. The UnConvention was advertised on PRI, Mic, and 92Y webpages. People were able to sign up through each website. Anyone was able to request access to the Facebook group, but had to be approved by an administrator before gaining access (“The UnConvention,” 2016). 500 young adults joined the private Facebook group.
Methods and Tools Used
The UnConvention “[blended] broadcast and social media, interactive polling, live events, and community meetups” (“92nd Street Y, Mic,” 2016). “The UnConvention...[used]...the power of Facebook to share and analyze weekly interactive quizzes and polls” (“92nd Street Y, Mic,” 2016). Mic used “original editorial and video, broadcast[ed] the events and exclusive behind-the scenes interviews and footage on Facebook Live” (“92nd Street Y, Mic,” 2016). PRI used “audio and digital content to explore election themes identified by millennials as key to their decision making during the election cycle” (“92nd Street Y, Mic,” 2016).
What Went On: Process, Interaction, and Participation
Only participants were involved in online and in-person deliberations. Participants deliberated on climate change, immigration, health care along with other issues and topics (“The UnConvention,” 2016). Summaries of the deliberations were posted in the private Facebook group.
Influence, Outcomes, and Effects
The UnConvention amplified the voices of millennials, many of whom were voting in their first presidential election. The UnConvention allowed young adults to learn from each other and communicate on important issues.
Analysis and Lessons Learned
While diverse voices were heard through The UnConvention, the majority of those involved were progressive. Using social media is an excellent way to reach millennials. Social media, in all its forms, enables millennials and all young adults to easily involve themselves in participatory governance
The original submission of this case entry was written by Katie Clark, a Master of Public Service candidate at the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service. The views expressed in the current version are those of the authors, editors, or cited sources, and are not necessarily those of the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service.
Lead image: " Eric K. Ward, from left, Negin Farsad, Aasif Mandvi, Israel Ortega and Hari Kondabolu discuss diversity and American identity at the 92nd Street Y in New York during The UnConvention, October 17, 2016." Credit Michael Priest/PRI, http://bit.ly/2Vr1dlv.