Fangirl Correspondent: Political Internet

0 Posted by - 17/04/2013 - Blogs

The internet can make life easy. Things that you used to have to leave the house to do, like shopping or paying bills and whatnot, can now be completed from the comfort of your own home.

Some would say that this has made us lazier humans; others might claim that it’s made the world a much more efficient place.

As we move deeper into the digital age and the way the world communicates is constantly evolving, the way that political movements and campaigns take hold has become a whole other thing.

So, who remembers Kony 2012? Anyone? That was an intense day. I can recall sitting down to watch a YouTube video and then suddenly my Facebook and Twitter feeds had blown up.

People were sharing the video, taking online pledges, signing petitions, buying protest packs, sending donations to some organisation I’d never even heard of … Everything got pretty cray. I witnessed friends on Facebook who had never previously shown any aspirations of becoming political spreading the message IN ALL CAPS and encouraging others to do the same.

As you’re probably aware, the hype died down fairly quickly as people became more and more wary of the cause and actually looked into where the money was going … which is still a bit of a mystery.

Plus, Kony’s still out there. But for that day and a half, people felt like they were making a difference and genuinely fighting for humanity, all by using their own social networks and partaking in digital activism.

In terms of wanting a campaign to go viral, it certainly did that.

The world of politics can be messy, confusing and to some people, downright boring.

The thing about the Kony 2012 campaign was that it explained things in relatively simple terms (for those of you who completed VCE English – I’ve never seen so many Persuasive Language Techniques in one video before) and made participating pretty easy.

You just had to click a few buttons and you were part of it.

You were standing up for something. Good work, internet!

Kony aside, political campaigning on the internet is something that is still developing, just like online journalism and learning.

However, with increasing amounts of people – especially young people – spending a fair portion of their day online, some political figures took it a step further.

Last year, Obama got a tumblr. A TUMBLR. IT EVEN USED GIFS. AND MEAN GIRLS REFERENCES .

A key part of the 2012 US election, as with many elections in the past, was motivating the younger generation to vote. Previous campaigns such as ‘Rock The Vote‘ also utilised the online world to spread their message, but in 2012 it went to a whole other level.

I mean, there were Darren Criss GIFS involved. And they reblogged stuff like this. The fandoms got involved through projects like Nerds for Obama.

For a while there, politics got kind of cool. Super trendy and down with the kids, at any rate.

Is this the future? Will we see Tony and Julia on Tumblr any time soon, reblogging up a storm?

Do you have any thoughts on online political activism and campaigning? Is it all talk and no action? Or actually something worthwhile? Let me know in the comments!

Kara Gibbons

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