In the U.S. this past November, there wasn’t a surge in youth voting, though there was a decisive shift towards Obama among those who did turn out to vote.
In past elections, India’s middle-class youths blew off voting as a waste of time. The country’s often-Kafkaesque bureaucracy exasperated them, as did politicians’ well-earned reputations for corruption and criminal behavior. But now, the same high-tech tools and toys of youth culture that help teenagers engage with one another are being used to expose the misdeeds of political leaders. In the past, police harassed young people when they massed for street demonstrations, but Indian youths now gather on Facebook or organize over text messaging, a powerful medium in India, where 385 million people own cellphones, according to the Cellular Operators Association of India.