Sunday, 16 October 2016

Silly But Effective

My previous social media post earlier this week covered Citizenship, an element I didn't touch on was the more silly elements of Citizenship. It's a great time to be looking at this actually, with the US Presidential Election being just around the corner, examples of this are occurring every day, I would go as far as to say hourly in fact.

So what is meant by silly citizenship? To me it is the opposite really of what citizenship was 'expected' to be, it is sometimes political and created to get a point across but does so in a more playful way, in the form of dance videos and spoofs.

A perfect example of this 'silly citizenship' is The Daily Show, a TV show broadcast on prime time American television, on Comedy Central. The show is presented in a news format, right down to the host who sits behind a desk, but the difference is they poke fun at the news of the day, aiming towards a left wing political agenda (that's why I love it).

Here is a recent example from The Daily Show, who "report" on Donald Trump's so called locker room talk, after a video emerged of the Presidential candidate making obscene remarks about women:

This is one of MANY examples which occur during an election cycle, as John Hartley Silly Citizenship (2010 p242) comments "elections are marked by homemade spoofs, parody and stand-up's, some of which out-rate official campaigns".

Hartley makes a very interesting point, that this kind of comedic way of getting the point across can sometimes have an even greater impact, than the actual serious reporting that goes on at election time. And with social media anybody can essentially do it, they don't need big backing, just a way to record video or other content and an idea, which could go viral. 'Ordinary' people can now make even more of an impact on elections and other public opinion.

And this doesn't even need to be a video or image, it could simply be a hash tag, for example social media users began the hash tag #MakeAmericaGropeAgain in reference to the Trump campaign, referencing the leaked video and hijacking Trump's own 'Make America Great Again' slogan. Silly yet effective citizenship in action.

The success, so to speak, of this spoof hash tag (as I have nick named it), was down to the sheer volume of people who interacted with it on Twitter. As Clay Shirky Here Comes Everybody (2008 p48) notes "Our electronic networks are enabling novel forms of collective action", collective action, which many years ago would have only been possible through things such as large protest marches, now this same kind of action is at the fingertips of all citizens.


Clay Shirky - Here Comes Everybody (2008)

John Hartley - Silly Citizenship (2010)

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