Last week saw the tense presidential race between the current US President, Donald Trump, and the Democratic elect, Joe Biden. Social media had a clear impact on the presidential campaign with each side choosing to utilise both Twitter and Instagram platforms. However, it was the ingenuity of New York’s Democratic representative, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, that really caught the attention of the internet. AOC is currently the youngest woman to ever serve in the United States Congress, a position that arguably allows her to have keen insight on how to address and appeal to the younger generation of progressives that is emerging within American society. It is clear that the path to future political success is not only in securing the vote of these individuals, but actually convincing them to go out and vote in the first place.
In order to encourage voter turn-out amongst the younger generation AOC and fellow representative, Ilhan Omar, decided to activate on Twitch, a live-streaming platform that is becoming increasingly popular amongst 18 – 34 year olds. Taking to Twitter, AOC simply tweeted out – ‘Anyone want to play Among Us with me on Twitch to get out the vote?’ and was met with a massive response. Among Us is a game that was launched back in 2018 and is currently staging a come-back due to a vapid increase of interest amongst the younger crowd. The game is simple, each player is a fun, little character which is trapped on a spaceship that they must repair with their fellow teammates. However, there is a slight twist in that one player is designated the role of an ‘imposter,’ and their role is to secretly sabotage the team and not get caught doing so.
AOC was very quickly joined by popular streamers such as, Pokimane, HasanAbi, Disguised Toast, and DrLupo. Initial viewership was incredibly high peaking at an audience of 439,000 viewers all watching in real time. The stream has now garnered 5.2 million viewers in aggregate and has launched AOC to the top spot in regard to the most popular Twitch streamers. The conversation exploded onto other platforms too, with meme-makers creating content using key moments from the livestream. Consequently, this broadcast placed her amongst the 20 biggest streams ever, a rank that includes Ninja’s legendary stream in which he played Fortnite with Drake in 2018. Ninja’s video amassed an audience of 600,000, so AOC was not far from taking the top spot entirely.
The most important result of the livestream was that it actually increased voter turnout amongst younger Americans. Throughout the stream AOC dropped coy references to voting, as well as directing viewers to ‘iwillvote.com’ which is a website that helps young people to both register to vote and to create a voting plan. It was reported by the DNC that AOC and Omar were the highest drivers to ‘iwillvote.com’ ever during the cast of a livestream. This translated into real-world effect as States, such as Florida, saw a larger rate of young people turning up at the polls in comparison to previous years. Following this success, it is unsurprising that AOC has confirmed that she will livestream again on Twitch, but what game she will play is still up for debate. She is allegedly an avid player of the popular ‘League of Legends’ game, so there is a chance that may be her next port of call.
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