How fandoms are changing the political landscape
In the information age, the way we consume politics is evolving closer into the way we consume everything else. Media platforms like Tumblr and Twitter are hubs for spreading information and opinions, giving young people a platform to discuss issues on a broad scale.
That said, Tumblr and Twitter are also places where one can share a cleverly photoshopped collage of Dylan O’Brien at the beach. These worlds often combine, and more and more they are converging on the political landscape.
Everyone in the 60’s swooned over JFK. But Bernie Sanders, a Presidential candidate for the Democratic Party, is getting some serious boy-band-fan attention as well.
Fans of the candidate's platform are taking fandom-esque art styles and lingo to reach their peers, and it’s effective. Behind the gifs of Mr. Sanders blowing kisses and chants of “Bern down for what?!” lie people informed about the issues who want to make a difference in the culture of politics. They’re giving a new and powerful voice to young voters, and they’re getting attention for it.
Addy and Emma Nozell are two teenage girls who are taking selfies with every presidential candidate for the 2016 election. You can follow their twitter account “@PrezSelfieGirls” for updates on their quest, but the duo (who has a combined age of 32) has already snagged selfies with 19 candidates.
Bernie is not the only one getting the fandom treatment. While Joe Biden is “the king of the internet” as declared by the Washington Post, his friendship with President Obama is garnering attention on its own. If you’re not familiar, their ship name is “Joebama”.
Image Source: joebidenfacts (a parody Tumblr)
This is far from an American phenomenon; in fact the most famous instance of political fandom is “Milifandom”. Seventeen-year-old Abby Tomlinson started this viral campaign for Ed Miliband, a former leader of the British Labour Party. The campaign includes pictures of Miliband with photoshopped flower crowns, amongst other things.
Image Source: samanthakilford
However, things took a dark turn for members of the Milifandom, when his opponent David Cameron snagged this picture with One Direction.
Image Source: UK Telegraph
Thus starting the twitter war of #milifandom versus #cameronettes.
Concerned citizens are far from the only people attempting to harness the power of young people on the internet. May we remind you of “Doge Gate”, the time when a bunch of politicians used the Doge meme to try to communicate with the youth of America. If you have somehow managed to avoid “Doge”, it is the popular meme of a Shiba and his internal monologue, always written in Comic Sans.
Image Source: Twitter
Image Source: Twitter
What a time to be alive.
Image Source: hillaryiscoming
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