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UW Election Eye 2012

Campaign 2012 through the eyes of UW faculty and students

Topic: discourse

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November 4, 2012 at 7:00 AM

Is social media “turning off” young voters to political discourse?

President Obama introduces himself on Reddit, where he opened up an “Ask Me Anything” forum for questions. (Screenshot by Kristine Kim / UW Election)

Young voters are more engaged with the election than ever before, thanks to social media. But are today’s conversations as deep as they were in the past?

Seattle — You’ve heard the trends. College students who didn’t even have time to tune in to any of the three presidential debates know that their friends are talking politics when the subjects of Big Bird or binder —  particularly those full of women —  come up. It’s the product of the social-media engine, where a South Korean pop star can go viral in the United States and an “Ask Me Anything” open forum by the president causes Reddit participants to chant, in the form of internet comments, “One of us! One of us!”

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Comments | More in Culture, National | Topics: discourse, Election 2012, social media

November 3, 2012 at 7:00 PM

LOLcats and the election: how memes have taken over the news

As election day looms, “zinger” retweets and reblogs catapult political memes into the public eye.

On Twitter memes often appear in the form of hashtags.  (Image courtesy of AdWeek.com / UW Election Eye)

SEATTLE — Internet meme (n.): “a catchy phrase or idea associated with an image, which often becomes viral online.”

During the presidential debates, my Twitter feed was aflutter with homemade memes and my Tumblr flooded with political commentary in that oh-so familiar form of white blocky text over photos.

Memes catapulted to fame in 2006 with the rise of the LOLcat and the kitties of I Can Haz Cheezburger.

The first memes I remember seeing were of the “I can haz” variety, but plenty has changed in the past few years, and now this internet art form has become a key part of the 2012 presidential election.

This became especially apparent during the months leading up to the first of the 2012 presidential debates. As October neared, Internet users of all ages were churning out Obama and Romney memes at full-speed.

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Comments | More in Culture, National | Topics: discourse, Election 2012, memes