If you want a teenager to ignore you, send them an email. Today’s youth might be obsessed with messaging, but very few of them are obsessed with email messaging. Some proof: A recent study from Pew found that a mere six percent of teenagers exchange emails everyday; this compared to the 55 percent who text their friends on a daily basis. Schools, which have long battled the smartphone as a classroom distraction, have begun to catch on—if you want kids to listen to you, you’ve got to reach them where they’re at…Now the government is looking to do the same, through a program called Up Next. The project, which is a joint effort between digital creative agency Huge, Civic Nation and the White House’s Office of Public Engagement, is designed to prepare students for the transition from high school to college by texting them information they need to know when they need to know it. High school juniors and seniors can sign up for the program and Up Next will push them precisely timed messages about preparing for the SAT/ACT, and applying for school and financial aid. The idea being that if you give students information exactly when they need it, they’ll be less likely to forget about it or brush it aside.
Striding out of the White House in slow motion, sporting oversized sunglasses, Michelle Obama lays down a rap track aimed at raising the star power of math majors and engineering students. “If you wanna fly jets, you should go to college. Reach high and cash checks? Fill your head with knowledge,” Obama rhymes as comedian Jay Pharoah, known for his Saturday Night Live impression of her husband President Barack Obama, makes a stack of bills rain onto the floor of the White House. The video is a funny and affectionate send-up of the celebrity culture that Obama has said she wants to turn on its head to try to get more American kids thinking about higher education. Obama’s “Better Make Room” campaign, targeting students aged 14 to 19, encourages them to go to college by giving them a brush with fame on social media with help from celebrities like Pharoah and basketball great LeBron James. The campaign is part of a larger White House effort to address slipping U.S. college graduation rates.