Any Memes Necessary: Exploring the Relationship Between Social Media Imagery and Political Outcomes

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Throughout the intense 2020 election cycle, get-out-the-vote messaging efforts needed to look different than in previous years in order to effectively mobilize voters to the polls. Between the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing threat of foreign interference with the election, disinformation on social media was prevalent and challenging for users to navigate. 


During election seasons, we all come across a variety of political messages on social media, television, the radio, and beyond. To effectively reach young people, organizers must communicate in ways that are familiar and reliable, or at least require minimal fact-checking. Some messaging methods are more effective than others in mobilizing young voters to the polls, but the one method that has outperformed the rest and captured Andrew Goodman Puffin Democracy Fellow Skylar Mitchell’s attention is the use of memes. In her project, Skylar sought out to identify digital media best practices and to determine if there is a correlation between social media usage among young people and their political participation. Listen to Skylar present about using memes to share important political messages below.


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  1. Learn how to spot disinformation on social media!
  2. Learn how to create a political meme and share with your network! 
  3. Check out our Digital Organizing Toolkit to learn more about digital media best practices! 
  4. Read more from Skylar Mitchell!

Example Memes


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