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NOP3 | Election 2012 Hashtags and Memes: How to Stay Informed while Laughing

By October 29, 2012No Comments

By Keish Kim | New Organizing Project blogger

Part of our series of bloggers on what the elections mean to them.

It’s election season y’all! The big 2012 presidential election

Campaign colors have been everywhere, and although I don’t own a TV, I am sure there had been a plethora of candidate advertisements. After all, both candidates did push their voters for every dollar they can get.

For the past few weeks, the highlight of the election has to be the presidential debates plus one vice presidential debate. Ideally, these debates are suppose to inform undecided voters by expanding on policy platforms the candidates could not do in a 2 minute ad or limited campaign trails. Frankly, that’s not how it went in all 4 debates. And maybe the key word here is “ideally”. Political debates have become more of a stage act and it never seems to expand on anything. What you can get out of them are catch phrases keen to produce mass amounts of memes and hashtags for the social media. #bigbird #bindersfullofwomen and the most recent #horsesandbayonets.

Although it is amusing to laugh at these comical pieces of the debate, they allude to the pressing issues that the President will have to address in the coming 4 years. So how can we, while retaining some humor, break down and highlight the key parts of this year’s election?

Here are some blog posts that make the election fun and enjoyable (in no particular order) :








#binderfullofwomen was a statement Mitt Romney made in the second presidential debate. While it’s funny to laugh at, the larger issue around women’s rights are pressing. Other than equal pay, the issue around planned parenthood and contraceptives are at stake.

I thought this blog post made it comical (gif) and easy for anyone to understand why Romney’s “binder full of women” was problematic and how it reflected his stance on women’s rights.

2) This blog is a little bit hard to navigate but their political commentaries are punny and informative.

  • Hot Air ”Romney wanted to show the audience not just that he understands Afghanistan, Syria, and Iran, but that he’s unflappable even in a tense situation. Obama wasn’t facing that test so he could afford to be more aggressive, if only to impress his base. Because he was playing offense, I’ll bet that he wins the insta-polls. But that won’t matter; the bottom line is that Romney’s still on track.”
  • TPM “Obama seemed comfortable, happy. The visuals told the story. Romney was sweating a lot and looked like he was in pain. Into the second half of the debate Romney’s answers seemed more jumbled and unfocused. There was even that rambling and generally uncontroversial digression on Pakistan. Why? He seemed lost.”
  • Politico “Putting his disdain for Romney on vivid display, Obama said his challenger has been ‘all over the map’ on matters of war and peace and pushed back more aggressively than ever on some of Romney’s stock foreign policy attacks.”
  • A post I thought was clever was a short infography looking summary of what the popular internet pundits thought about who won the debate

    3) Mitt refers us to his website to explain how he’d pay to grow the military.

    The American Prospect did a clever job animating gifs to sum up each debates, including the vice presidential debate. They were so funny, it’ll be a shame if I don’t share!

    But they also have a more in-depth posts on different campaign topics

    4) Pew Research center tumblr  (yes they have a tumblr!) also had bunch of interesting easy to read charts and graphs demonstrating the impact of social media and young voters for 2012 elections

    NEW REPORT OUT TODAY — 39% of American adults (66% of social media users) have used social media platforms to engage in at least 1 of 8 civic or political activities: 38% of those who use social networking sites (SNS) or Twitter use those social media to “like” or promote material related to politics or social issues that others have posted. Liberal Democrats who use social media are particularly likely to use the ‘like’ button—52% of them have done so and 42% of conservative Republicans have also done so. 35% of social media users have used the tools to encourage people to vote. Democrats who are social media users are more likely to have used social media to encourage voting—42% have done that compared with 36% of Republican social-media users and 31% of independents. 34% of social media users have used the tools to post their own thoughts or comments on political and social issues. Liberal Democrats who use social media (42%) and conservative Republicans (41%) are especially likely to use social media this way. 33% of social media users have used the tools to repost content related to political or social issues that was originally posted by someone else.  Republican social media users are more likely to do this on social media—39% have used social media to repost content, compared with 34% of social media using Democrats and 31% of independents. 31% of social media users have used the tools to encourage other people to take action on a political or social issue that is important to them. Some 36% of social-media-using Democrats have done this as have 34% of Republicans. This compares to 29% of independents who are social media users. 28% of social media users have used the tools to post links to political stories or articles for others to read. The social media users who are liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans are the most likely to have used social media this way (39% and 34% respectively). 21% of those who use SNS or Twitter belong to a group on a social networking site that is involved in political or social issues, or that is working to advance a cause. There are no major differences by ideology or partisanship when it comes to using social media this way. 20% of social media users have used the tools to follow elected officials and candidates for office.  Some 32% of the conservative Republicans who use social media follow officials on social media and 27% of liberal Democrats who use social media do so. Which of these do you engage in regularly?


    To expand your knowledge of issues concerning this election, there are really countless of independent sites and political criticism for both sides. What is important to remember is that beyond the punny gifs of horses and bayonets, binder full of women and big bird comments, it alludes to critical issues of nuclear weapons and militarization of the US, women’s rights and budget cuts concerning public institutions.

    Other sites you could visit!

    And if you have other suggestions, please let me know!!

    Until then, stay informed and go out to vote










    In the words of Bob Schieffer’s mom