It’s been a semester of talking about theories, entertainment, and social media. I am often thinking of how to connect all the dots. How do they interrelate? How can I sum up my semester?
It was an election year filled with an abundance of political ads, mudslinging, ultimate levels of immaturity, silliness, signs at every corner, and celebrities spouting their opinions as if they were experts on politics. It was rather exhausting, although, I am content with how it all ended.
In Sayre & King’s textbook, Entertainment and Society, a chapter on advocacy, political activism is discussed. In the age of Web 2.0, we find that everyone is a content provider, everyone is an expert….and politics is not exempt from this area.
Celebrities are everywhere during the lead up to the election. They are hosting fundraisers for politicians, they are publicly supporting their favorite politician, cause, or policy. They are using their status as a celebrity to share their “incredible amount of knowledge” (hard to show sarcasm in writing) to tell us who we should vote for or what cause we should support.
They are Tweeting, Facebooking, Pinning it, and shouting it out from every corner.
Rock The Vote was established in 1991 to “engage and build political power for young people in our country”. http://www.rockthevote.com/about/ While this is an excellent way to involve young people in the electoral process, the celebrities that come along with the process often take over and the purpose becomes hidden.
As well, the Rock The Vote “Will Will Video” appeared in September 2012 to kick off the election season. http://FunnyOrDie.com/m/77kb (warning there’s a couple of R-rated words in there…)
Sayre and King eloquently described this era as a “sea of change for entertainers and their engagement in the electoral process”. While I understand the importance of involving young people in the voting process, I wonder if individuals who actively listen, watch, and engage in such information from celebrities – let it affect or sway their decision when it comes time to vote. Do individuals vote based on information they personally researched (or based on their values) or do they merely wait for Miley Cyrus or Pink to tell them who and what to vote for?
Are those of us study communications immune? Does our awareness allow us to look beyond the content that celebrities produce and think for ourselves? I am aware and I do my research prior to voting….however, I wonder if I am ever swayed in my opinion by celebrities and not able to acknowledge it. Awareness and media literacy is certainly an essential in today’s Web 2.0 world.