Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
Session
PaperSession-17: Memes & Representation
Time:
Friday, 04/Oct/2019:
9:00am - 10:30am

Session Chair: Elinor Carmi
Location: O314
(cap.40)

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Presentations
9:00am - 9:20am

STOODIS: INDIGENOUS POLITICAL ACTIVISM THROUGH FACEBOOK MEMES

Cindy Tekobbe

University of Alabama, United States of America

Indigenous peoples in the United States cannot trust the system. They battle colonial voter suppression efforts implemented to prevent them from engaging politically as equal citizens. They are targets of laws specifically designed in opposition to the realities of reservation life in North America. For example, North Dakota has a law that requires citizens to hold state-issued identification listing a physical address. Native Americans living on rural reservations in the US are typically only issued PO Boxes to simplify mail delivery for the federal government. Additionally, Native Americans might use only tribal identification cards rather than settler-issued identification. And given the remoteness of some of these reservations, even accessing state services to acquire identification can be a hurdle. This remoteness is another hurdle in building resistance efforts as reservations are scattered across the country and are largely isolated from each other. Social media platforms are one kind of system natives across the US can use to organize their identities and enact political power. On “Indian Twitter” and “Indian Facebook,” they network their knowledges and draw attention to their resistance efforts. With this project, I collected political memes from a Facebook page dedicated to indigenous socialism. Using indigenous research methods and critical race studies, I analyzed them for themes, content, and objectives. My work, situated in indigeneity, explores this digital political identity construction, as well as the power of the social media networks and memes to convey indigenous knowledges and communal understanding as one approach to thwarting institutional suppression efforts.



9:20am - 9:40am

The Social Media Self-presentation of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez during the “Ocasio2018” Campaign

Yiping Xia

University of Wisconsin-Madison, United States of America

Social media platforms are increasingly an integral part of political campaigns operating in the United States. While the opportunities for voter engagement and personalized campaign communications through digital media are well-acknowledged by scholars, it is worth noting that the latest cultural and commercial boom of “micro-celebrities” has made waves into the field of election campaigning, resulting in a distinct style of campaigning that puts relatively more focus on the construction of the candidate’s authentic personality.

This study aims to dissect the key elements of this style of campaigning by analyzing the Twitter and Instagram content of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, newly-elected congresswoman in New York who defeated a high-profile Democratic incumbent in the primary election for the U.S House of Representatives. Ocasio-Cortez’s social media posts are widely regarded as “refreshing” as she entered the Senate race at a young age and emerged from a “grassroots” status. Shortly after the election, she was invited to give a lesson to Congress members on social media use (Collins, 2019). From a communicative perspective, the campaign success of Ocasio-Cortez is a testament to a potential new trend in political campaign communication. This paper sets out to provide some preliminary inquiry.



9:40am - 10:00am

WHERE DOES TRUST FIT? OLDER USERS’ PHOTO-SHARING ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Sarah Quinton

Oxford Brookes University, United Kingdom

People over the age of 60 engaging with social media are rising rapidly in number as digital technologies become embedded within everyday life and these older users are turning to social media. Increasingly, photo-sharing is being used as a vehicle for social connection by older users. Multiple and contradictory narratives exist concerning older people’s use of digital technologies including social media, and its use is impacted by a set of complex factors which include trust. However, little is known about the role of trust in photo-sharing within this group of users.

This paper maps an exploratory, pilot study aiming to understand the role of trust in photo-sharing amongst older people in the UK. Participative workshops and individual interviews were held with 28 older users ranging from 60-89 years old.

The findings revealed that older users recognized that connectivity required trust at several levels. Trust was necessary in the inanimate (the systems and platforms used), the animate (the people involved in the co-creation and sharing) and for the socialization that interacting brought about (the connectivity). Through identifying the interplay of trust in these three aspects of photo-sharing insight has been gained into the role of trust in an emergent and important group of social media users.



10:00am - 10:20am

Too Many Cooks: Trusting New Voices in Online Culinary Advice

Katherine Kirkwood

Queensland University of Technology, Australia

Digital technology is becoming increasingly enmeshed in the everyday practices of cooking and eating (see Lewis 2018; Kirkwood 2018). In negotiating the increasingly complex web of culinary information online users need to remain vigilant about the voices and perspectives they turn to for food and nutrition advice.

In examining which online sources are trustworthy, this paper adds to the scholarship that highlights how the growing industrialisation of food negatively impacted food literacy (Pollan 2006; Vileisis 2008). In relation to digital food media, Lewis (2018, 214) argues that “food citizens increasingly require a critical media literacy…”. This is important considering that consumers are more likely to turn to the media than nutrition professionals for advice (Contois and Day 2018, 16).

This paper builds on Lewis’ (2018) calls for greater critical media literacy Through textual analysis of online news and popular commentary, this paper examines the two Australian case studies of Australian celebrity chef Pete Evans and fraudulent wellness advocate Belle Gibson. These examples highlight risks associated with online culinary information and provide contrasting perspectives on credibility and trustworthiness. Evans leverages mainstream media exposure and experience as a chef to establish credibility for his online channels where he explores his alternative culinary views more extensively. Gibson’s reputation meanwhile was established through achieving grassroots fame online for supposedly beating cancer through shunning conventional treatments. Understanding how trustworthiness or authority is established and negotiated, and particularly how these characteristics work between legacy and online media are important in developing critical media literacy around food.



 
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