I'm sure your mailbox has been flooded with political candidate flyers and you've taken your phone off the hook (if you have a landline), from all the evening calls. I'm of course a HUGE proponent for getting out there and voting -- too many people have fought long and hard for those rights for us -- but I understand how exhausting the endless campaign messages, ads, calls, etc. can be. I'm not stumping for any particular party, but I am campaigning for people to think for themselves. We have all the information we need to make informed decisions (there are bipartisan sites like Project Vote Smart to look up any candidate's voting record), and I want to emphasize the power of critical thinking to combat the oversimplification of issues, namely internet memes.
A meme is classified rather elegantly as a unit of cultural transmission, passed along social media circles like Facebook and Twitter -- it's the little visual/text blurb about cats wanting cheeseburgers, super cute bunnies, and all the little pleasureable time-wasters that get us through the day. A meme is also a rather dangerously truncated means to inform the public about real issues. It seems like anyone with a knowledge of a graphics program, access to pretty fonts, and some questionable facts can create a viral message that spreads misinformation as truth.
In honor of election season, I would like to create my own meme -- spreading the message of #MemeWisely (or preferably, not at all -- just stick to the cute kitties and bunnies, please).
In a perfect world, I would love it if critical thinking went viral, to curb the oversimplification of important issues as we enter the voting season.You wouldn't want to cast a ballot based on an argument that's 140 characters or less, right? Doesn't your voice as a voter count for much more than that?
So I welcome and encourage the sharing of these little graphics. They don't represent any party, unless you want to call this the Party of Common Sense and Educated Decision-Making, which I think we're all a part of. Even after the ballots are cast and votes are tallied, please remember to always #MemeWisely.
Jaunty Fine Print: graphics by Denise Sakaki