Pearce - LOLs of Nations

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Published on March 2, 2014

Author: katyp1

Source: slideshare.net

LOLs of Nations: Understanding Global Memes #LOLnations ANDRES MONROY-HERNANDEZ @ANDRESMH BEN VALENTINE @BENNNYV ELENA AGAPIE @ELENAAGP KATY PEARCE @KATYPEARCE

04 AFFORDANCES OF MEMES FOR POLITICAL DISSENT AND SUPRESSION

MEMES DEFINED (a) a group of digital items sharing common characteristics of content, form, and/or stance, which (b) are created with an awareness of each other, and (c) are circulated, imitated, and/or transformed via the Internet by many users (Shifman, 2013) #LOLnations

SHARENESS micro-macro sharing is essential to memes and is a form of networked individualism in which technology enables a new osmotic self that absorbs elements from multiple networks, which is personalized, while still networked (Wellman & Rainie, 2012) REPRODUCE often in the form of repackaging or imitation, remix or mimicry (Shifman, 2013) #LOLnations COMPETITIVE & SELECTIVE traceable and measurable creates competition (Shifman, 2013) AFFORDANCES OF MEMES ANONYMOUS memes eschew attribution and the anonymity of them enables freedom (Davison, 2012)

POLITICAL SUBVERSION? Memes could play a role in political participation as persuasion or advocacy; grassroots action; cheap; enjoyable; display of criticism (Shifman, 2013) And memes certainly are part of political subversion…. #LOLnations BUT THESE SAME AFFORDANCES THAT ENABLE MEMES USED AS TOOLS OF SUBVERSIONS ARE THE SAME AFFORDANCES THAT MAKE THEM TOOLS OF REPRESSION.

DICTATOR TOOLS OF CONTROL STAGE POLITICAL DRAMA TO UNDERMINE OPPONENTS #LOLnations CONTROL NON-SUPPORTERS THROUGH MATERIAL ENTICEMENT CONTROL INFORMATION FLOW CONTROL NON-SUPPORTERS THROUGH BLACKMAIL, HARASSMENT, COERCION BOASTING SUPPORT Schatz (2009)

STAGE POLITICAL DRAMA TO UNDERMINE OPPONENTS #LOLnations

STAGE POLITICAL DRAMA TO UNDERMINE OPPONENTS #LOLnations

CONTROL INFORMATION FLOW #LOLnations

CONTROL NONSUPPORTERS THROUGH BLACKMAIL, HARASSMENT, COERCION #LOLnations

COMPETITIVE & SELECTIVE BOASTING SUPPORT #LOLnations

OPPOSITION MEMES EXIST Donkey Bloggers • • Anti-government video 24 & 30 months in jail, 17 months served #LOLnations Heydar Aliyev Facebook Page Bulistan • • Satirical YouTube channel Conscription, harassment, beatings, family losing jobs, asylum • • Parody & meme Facebook page Administrators arrested a year ago today, trial still not over Harlem Shake • • Harlem Shake video Participant arrested for hooliganism, trial ongoing

TAKEAWAY • • • Memes are great. The ability to share, reproduce, and be anonymous are all affordances of memes that can be assets for those looking to politically engage, even at great risk. But all of these affordances, as well as the ability to quantify results, also allow dictators to stage political drama to undermine people, control non-supporters through blackmail, harassment, and coercion, control information flow, and boast about support. And when there is inequality in resources – financial and power, the dictators win the meme war. For now. #LOLnations

THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME KATY PEARCE, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNICATION, UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON @KATYPEARCE

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