Pop Culture and the Campaign Trail: Sharing and Streaming in 2012

The great supercomputer in the clouds has crunched the numbers, and the stats are in: One-third of the world’s population used the Internet in 2012. Surfing, streaming and sharing is the mantra of the 21st century. But when we look back at 2012, what can we glean from all those hours spent in the company of technology? With 2.4 billion people using their gadgets as umbilical cords to the Web, fads and buzzworthy moments ebb, flow and disappear faster than you can say Honey Boo Boo or “binders full of women” (thank you, Mitt Romney). From memes and trends to photobombs and viral videos, despite the never ending glut of conveyor belt content that’s vying for our attention, there seems to be an underlying theme to our pop culture obsessions and political fixations. We love humor.

The Year in Review

Parodies, spoofs, gaffes, mockumentaries and other everyday absurdities have become de rigueur in the Internet age, and they were streamed and shared at a frenetic pace in 2012. Whether it’s Secretary of State Hillary Clinton getting her groove on in South Africa, Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney’s famous Billy Idol sneer (the McKayla’s not impressed look was reproduced more times than Andy Warhol’s soup can), or vice president Joe Biden colorfully tossing out the word malarkey in a debate like he was talking shop, or an unwarranted penalty kick, over pints of stout in a Dublin pub, humor and caricature is what brought 2.4 billion Internet users together this year.

The Comedy Club

Writers as diverse and cross-generational as Jonathan Swift, Oscar Wilde, Mark Twain, Kingsley Amis and David Sedaris are known for their use of humor. Comedic writing can be satiric and black as the gallows; it can also be playful, witty, or as dry as one of those martinis Mr. Amis was so fond of. As a literary technique or genre, humor is under appreciated. However, web content is the ideal arena for this type of writing style. There’s a surrealistic, P implies Q logic to this: If 2.4 billion Internet users love humor, and web content services want business, then content writers should sprinkle their blogs and articles with more comedic flourishes.

Does Mark Twain Tweet?

Mark Twain famously said “the difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.” In this day and age, that’s like asking which is the better Internet headline:

1. How to Get Longer Eyelashes in Seven Days

or

2. How to Get Freakishly Longer Lashes in Five Days

It’s the end of the year. It’s time to take stock of the Web’s burned out trends and forge our Internet resolutions for 2013. No more dance crazes and 47%, no more reality star train wrecks. Honey Boo Who? No more big bird jokes and binders full of women. We’re going to stop virtually stalking Kate Middleton, too.

Oh wait, she’s having a baby. Never mind.

Damon H is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.


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