Monday, August 20, 2012

Paul Ryan and the Meme'ing of life

Hey there,

So with the announcement of the presumptive (a technicality that just seems silly) Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's vice presidential pick, Paul Ryan, thought it'd be a good chance to look at the ripple effects in the social media pool. This is turning into one in a limited series of posts on Paul Ryan as he intersects with my own interests. Last week, I blogged about Paul Ryan & LGBT issues. Later this week I'll be blogging about his support (or lack of support) for the arts.

The first would be Paul Ryan's twitter account, or should I say accounts, as there are two. One he was using as a representative who's last tweet as of the time of this post was:
And one he is using as the Republican VP pick, who's first tweet was:
Not only does this mean that there were 6 days of Twitter silence, but it seems he's sacrificed one channel for the other. I would personally say that this would have been a great opportunity to show that he's still engaged in the work of his current office while campaigning, and that one doesn't have to choose. But it also seems that both accounts have been used to broadcast rather than for discourse, and while both are forms of engagement, I believe the latter more active engagement is where social media has its true value, rather than the former, more passive and traditional one.

Now where things get interesting for me are the memes and parodies that have been inspired by this pick. In fact, the main meme is actually a marriage with a previous one, the Ryan Gosling one. If you're not familiar with it, check out this article at Social Times from last year. If you're familiar with it (or read the link), the following will make sense in the context of humor:
Mashable actually has a piece from last week about the Paul Ryan Gosling meme:
“Have election season, will meme” would be an apt tagline for this year’s presidential election, as evidenced by the latest and so far greatest of Twitter political parody accounts, @PaulRyanGosling. (read more)
If you wanna see some gems, The Daily Beast highlighted some of the best ones. And in true form with the Ryan Gosling meme, which was visually driven (images with captions), there is a Paul Ryan Gosling Tumblr. The internets aside, this meme has apparently made a real world appearance. Jezebel has a piece about a Paul Ryan Gosling quote flown over an actual Paul Ryan rally.

As long as we're talking real world effects from the memes of cyberspace, Policymic has a piece on the pros and cons of this one:
...the “Paul Ryan Gosling” meme could be damaging to the Romney/Ryan ticket; especially, since one of the narratives Obama and the Democrats are going to hammer away is the GOP’s supposed “War on Women.” In this sense, the “Paul Ryan Gosling” Tumblr is pure evil genius. (read more)
And I'm sure it's just going to get more interesting over the next couple of months, especially once the debates start. One meme I personally hope to see more of is this one:

Yes, that would be RuPaul Ryan. A good note to end on, I think. Any Paul Ryan Gosling favorites you have? Definitely share them.

The only other political meme that seems to have gained traction in recent time is the "Texts from Hillary" one. Are there any other political memes you've observed or remembered that compare?

Please comment with any of them, or just thoughts in general.

- JR

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