|Screenshot of results of a Google image search on "political memes."|
A Google image search on terms like “political memes” or “election memes” provides a reading experience markedly different than opening the morning paper. This instant collage of pictures and text is the most complex of digital footprints, still new to even the most web literate among us. Political memes show participatory culture’s take on political news and the evolving process of electing a president. For those of us interested in literacy education and connected learning, for CLMOOC participants in particular, when we see these memes, or .gif looping videos of candidates in our Facebook feeds and Twitter streams, we can plainly see that this presidential election cycle is an international make cycle already in progress. How can the #clmooc community join this stream in the interest of our own connected learning?
The American presidential election has raised question about the shifting role of media and the web on contemporary politics. The emergence of Donald Trump, a controversial real estate billionaire and reality television star, as the frontrunner for the Republican nomination, prompts the mainstream print and television media to collectively ask “What’s happening?” almost daily, while Twitter feuds between candidates dominate the headlines the news organizations write.
On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders, a self-proclaimed democratic socialist and long-time independent congressman from Vermont, has proven himself surprisingly competitive despite eschewing campaign finance support from Super PAC’s. The social media campaigns of all candidates, these two outsiders in particular, are the subject of great interest. In just the last few days, both Forbes and the Economist have each published an analysis. Undoubtedly, the web and informal social channels are changing the way people keep informed about politics, and also how they discuss issues, events and candidates.
|A New York Times article annotated by Terry Elliott using the social annotation tool hypothes.is.|
Amidst this shifting media landscape, we invite you to join this make cycle that is already underway. Your facilitators for this pop-up make cycle, Terry Elliott and Joe Dillon, will create .gifs and memes, and we’ll annotate the political articles that whiz by, putting our creations in the digital margins. We invite you to join us to learn with us by making your own political statements. If American presidential politics is a turn off, maybe you have something to say about the Flint water crisis. Maybe you’ll be following the planned walkout in Chicago’s Public Schools to protest school funding. Whatever your interest, we invite you to follow it, and to make political statements with us.