MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) - A large crowd watched the candidates' forum Tuesday night at the historic Douglass Theatre, but an even bigger crowd followed it on social media, thanks to a few simple hashtags made up by a group called 'Shut Up and Vote.'
"We know a lot of the youth are involved and engaged in social media (Facebook/Twitter), and so we wanted to make sure we give them every opportunity to get involved in our local politics," says a member of the group, Douglas Jones.
And get involved at Monday night's forum, they did, using hashtags (#) like "#MaconDebate," "#Shut UpandVote," and "#TweetUp," hundreds of live Tweets were logged in just a few hours, sparking interest and conversation from those who weren't at the event.
"Obama was voted in largely by the youth," says another member of the group, Bucky Helms, who is also the chairperson of Macon Millennials. "They came through, voted, came in strong numbers, and that had a big effect last time around. And of course, it's gonna have a big effect this time around. And politics and getting involved is important--very important. If you're not involved, then you don't have a voice."
The group's name says it all, and its members say voting is power.
"Right now, we're seeing a lot of adults that weren't part of it when they were younger that aren't very active now," says Angel Collins. "So if we're a part now, we'll be a part of it later, and our values and the system that we want to carry on will actually move forward, if people vote now and are a part of the process now. The country is run by people who are voting, and if it's not you, why are you letting other people make the decisions for you?"
Remember we're only a week away from the November 6th election, so get out and make your voice heard next week if you haven't done so by early voting.
If you weren't able to make it to the debate Tuesday night, just log on to Twitter and search for #macondebate to get a full rundown on everything that happened at the event from a social media perspective.