When you want to take a break from Instagram and Angry Birds 2 to prep for Election 2016, there's an app for that. When you want to sound politically savvy at your new job, well, there's an app for that. Whether you can name all 22 presidential candidates and their hometowns or you just realized you've never registered to vote, these apps will keep you politically informed and give you a place to share your input.
Young people aged 18 to 29 have pretty much always expressed less interest in politics than the older generation. In 2014, only 35 percent of millennials said they talked about politics at least a few times a week, whereas 40 percent of Generation Xers and 49 percent of Baby Boomers said the same, according to Pew Research Center. Those numbers probably don't seem shocking — and they shouldn't.
What is interesting, though, is that the advancement of technology and the diversification of news media have most certainly changed the way that young people get their news. Rather than sitting down to watch the evening news after dinner like our parents, you probably get your news in small doses all throughout the day. You'll see a post on social media, a co-worker will email you a funny meme, or you'll get a push notification on your smartphone.
There's no wrong way to get the news (unless you still believe that The Onion is true), but these apps will make it a little easier to keep up.
BriefMe is short, sweet, and to the point. It gives you a list of the top 10 news stories, as ranked by the BriefMe score. The score takes into account things like retweets, shares, comments, and whether or not the story is trending. It can also send you push notifications with the three most popular news stories of the day. You can sort through stories by topic if you'd like, or you can view a stream of the most recent news. BriefMe is free on the App Store, and an Android version is coming soon.
For young politicos who want to dig a little deeper, there's iCitizen. iCitizen arranges political news based on issue, and you can set your preferences to reflect what issues you care about most. If you only want to stay informed about immigration issues, you can find all the relevant news in one spot. If you want to contact an elected official to share what you've learned and what you care about, you can find what you need to know in the app. iCitizen is free for Apple devices, Android devices, and Kindle.
Also known as "Tinder for politics," Brigade aims to build alliances among activists and inspire young people to voice their opinions. Brigade asks you to weigh in on today's most-debated issues, and then it shows you how you compare to other users, including your friends and acquaintances. The app also aims to give grassroots organizations a place to find supporters and to organize. Brigade is still in beta testing, but it's currently available for free in the App Store and Google Play.
4. Politifact Mobile
Just like the website, Politifact Mobile tells you how truthful a candidate, elected official, or social media post is in their claims. In other words, every time Donald Trump tries to correct a journalist, you can find out if he's right or wrong. Politifact Mobile is $1.99 on the App Store and on Google Play.
Snapchat isn't known for politics anymore than politicians are known for their filtered selfies, but it can still be a good tool for staying informed. In the Discover section, you can watch short news updates from particular outlets, including CNN. What's more, Snapchat hired CNN's Peter Hamby to head up its news department, which suggest that you'll see more political Stories headed your way in the near future.
Whether you're looking for just enough information to impress your dad or a place to meet people with the same views as you, these apps make talking politics easy and convenient. Get your updates now, or you might miss the next 10 candidates to enter the presidential race.
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