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The new political battleground: Grindr, Instagram and Vine

In Australia, you can't even get a date these days without being accosted by a politician.

Instead of simply legislating to give the youth what they want in the July 2 election — think marriage equality, jobs and action on climate change — the politicians have instead chosen to bombard them with sound bites in the digital spaces where they spend time. 

One Australian political party, The Greens, has even been sending campaign messages on the gay dating app, Grindr. "Don't get screwed!" certainly seems persuasive.

In previous election campaigns, tweets and Facebook posts have been the mediums of choice to bypass traditional media, but this year platforms like Snapchat and Instagram are also being used to give politicians the sheen of authenticity they crave. 

And those are just some of the many digital spaces Australia's political parties have invaded in the lead up to the election.

Yep, the world of politics has discovered memes, and it's confusing to say the least.

The Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union, for example, has been flooding the Internet with truly inexplicable memes that appear to be anti the Liberal Party. What is the meaning of this, for instance?

Memes of varying quality may prove to be this election's most memorable trend. Take a dive into the pro-Labor ALP Spicy Meme Stash or pro-Liberal Innovative and Agile Memes on Facebook for a delicious taste.

What remains unknown is whether these bad Photoshop jobs actually convince anyone to change their vote. Australian journalist Osman Faruqi wrote in the journal Overland "their primary purpose seems to be reassuring those on the same side that they hold the correct viewpoint."

Either way, the memes prove The Simpsons will a goldmine of useful quips until rising sea levels finally claim Australia.

In the twilight days of the campaign, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced on Instagram he had joined Snapchat under the username TurnbullMalcolm. It makes sense, given his well-documented love of disappearing messages. 

He has plenty of company on the social platform. Labor politician Ed Husic (EdHusicMP) is an avid user, along with Liberal Party snapper and emoji aficionado, Julie Bishop (JBish2016), who both share moments from the campaign trail.

Unlike Facebook, Snapchat's limited video and photo format does not favour lectures from the stump, so it's arguably offered the most intimate glimpse into life during an election.

Politicians have also been getting into Snapchat geofilters — a feature that allows you to add personalised filters in certain locations for a limited time — helping the party faithful broadcast campaign moments to all their closest friends.

The politicians have been all over Facebook Live, and it's been awful.

Outside of Australia's first and only successful online debate, hosted by on Facebook Live, politicians of all stripes have been using the platform to stream almost every press conference to an unwilling audience. 

The platform has genuine potential as a place to have a dialogue with voters, but unfortunately it's become a way to broadcast the party platform without paying TV ad rates.

Australia's politicians have been using Instagram to offer followers a glimpse of life on the campaign bus. Here are three former Labor prime ministers sharing a cup of tea and a Medicare card, for example, in a classic green room situation.

The platform also allows smaller parties to raise awareness without shelling out for hundreds of expensive broadcast ads. The Science Party, in particular, have been using targeted Instagram ads to address potential voters.

Leaving no social media stone unturned, you'll also find your political parties on Vine.

The Liberal Party, for one, have gone all in on the six-second video platform, sharing attack ad after attack ad. Hell is hearing Labor Party leader Bill Shorten say "put that on the spend-o-meter" in a never-ending loop.

WIth mere days to go in this election cycle, perhaps consider a self-enforced social media blackout for survival's sake? Good luck out there. 

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