What exactly is the #ASK project?
#ASK is a platform for online participation that directly connects young citizens with their political decision makers in Europe via the Twitter social network. The aim is simple: to support the empowerment of under-25s and their commitment to democratic life through online participation. The project is part of the EU's youth strategy, which aims to nurture all young people's active citizenship, social inclusion and solidarity. It was proposed by the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA), as part of the Erasmus+ youth-focused programme.
How does the platform work?
As social networks are particularly popular among young people, #ASK works through Twitter, which is often described as the "SMS of the internet" and has almost 300 million users. #ASK acts as an intermediary, connecting political decision makers – who are mostly very active on Twitter – and young Europeans on topical issues. The way it works is unusual, since it breaks with the traditional top-down communication model that we generally see, and instead gives young people the chance to truly become a part of political debate. The conversations being initiated between political decision makers and young Europeans are focused on 10 major themes, such as the environment, security, European integration and employment.
According to Eurostat, under-25s will make up a quarter of all working-age people by 2050. Almost all of them use digital tools and social networks, and yet less than a quarter of young Europeans have participated in online political discussion forums. The use of specialised platforms is rarely adapted and doesn't reach a great number of users. However, thanks to this model of participatory democracy, #ASK is bringing back debate and ensuring that politicians and decision makers take young people's opinions into account.
If you want to know more about our project and get involved, have a look at our website, and follow us on social media!