The social disconnect - Macleans.ca

The social disconnect

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Tasha Kheiriddin considers apathy.

According to Ilona Dougherty, executive director and co-founder of Apathy is Boring, a group dedicated to instilling personal political responsibility in Canada’s next generation, “a TV ad will get you to change your mind about who you’re voting for, but it won’t get you to vote. Before the advent of television (and now, the Internet), politicians would go shake people’s hands. That connection is what will cause a person – particularly a young person – to get involved.”

It may seem counter-intuitive in the age of MySpace and Facebook, but social media may not increase voters’ actual political involvement. Instead, Dougherty’s group holds regular “Calls to Action” – the next is scheduled for Feb. 11 in Montreal – which put hundreds of young people and politicians in the same space. “If you don’t create the habit of getting involved when you’re young, you won’t have it in later life,” cautions Dougherty. “This risks disengagement by an entire generation; today’s low voter turnout by young people will be the general population’s rate in 20 to 30 years.”