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Image macros mit 2013


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Image macros mit 2013

  1. 1. The Image Macro Election:Legibility, Shareability,ReproducibilityChuck TryonMedia in Transition ConferenceApril 3, 2013
  2. 2. Obama is Not ImpressedImage macros/graphicmemes as powerfulmessaging toolsObama campaign’sdexterity at navigatingsocial media(MckaylaMaroney)YouTube supplanted asthe election-definingmediumRelationship with Internetmemes as they havebeen defined by PatrickDavison
  3. 3. LegibilityImage macros combine images (often borrowing frompopular culture) with political commentaryReaders infer the meaning through combiningknowledge of visual cues with written messageThus the “politics” of the film itself might matter lessthan the affect associated with the moment that isbeing citedImages of Willy Wonka, Boromir, etc. equally availableto conservatives and progressivesConnected to the notions of “cleverness” that BarbaraKlinger associates with quoting movie scenes
  4. 4. ShareabilityImage macros reflect not onlythe sharer’s political valuesbut also something about theircultural tastesThe desire to share maybe driven by political orcultural affinityShareability built uponexisting networks thatfacilitate one-click sharing—Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr(especially “influencers” likeGeorge Takei)Challenge of tracking howinformation/ideas circulates—sharing often takes placewithin political echo chambers
  5. 5. ReproducibilityThanks to meme generators, which allow users toselect images from a menu of “most popular” options,making image macros has been automatedThis automation makes it easy to mix-and-matchmemes in order to create meta-commentariesAllows Ryan Gosling to show up in Binders Full ofWomen or “The Most Interesting Man in the World” toappear in Eastwood parodiesEssentially this results in “one-click” politicalparticipation/commentaryImplications of “one-click” politics is a bit more complex
  6. 6. Texts from HillaryOrganizedchronologically withHillary receiving textwhile flying on a planeDepicts Clinton asimperturbable problem-solver (rewrites 3 AM adfrom 2008 campaign)Most images werecompiled in brieflypopular Texts from HillaryTumblr.TFH challenged copyright(photographer DianaWalker)
  7. 7. More Texts from Hillary
  8. 8. EastwoodingResponse to Eastwood’sRNC speech, whichseemed to contrast deeplywith Eastwood’s starimageIllustrates the failure ofEastwood’s attempt tolaunch a successfulmeme about ObamaLike other memes,Eastwooding borrowedfrom and remixed oldermemes and pop cultureformsIn addition to imagemacros, many peopleposed with empty chairs(“Eastwooding”)
  9. 9. Binders Full of WomenHelped to driveperception thatRomney’s policies onworkplace and healthissues hostile towomenLent itself to mixingwith other pop culturememes—includingBoromir and RyanGosling (“Hey Girl”)
  10. 10. More Binders
  11. 11. Conclusion• Conservative circulation ofpolitical memes including“Smirking Biden,” a responseto 2012 VP debate• Photoshopped images canalso spread false ormisleading ideas—the famousR-Money photo is a fake(although it arguably helped toreinforce the 47% storyline• See my reflections on the“Image Macro Election” here: