LOLitics: The Content and Impact of Dutch Populist Internet Memes
48 Pages Posted: 6 May 2019
Date Written: 2019
Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have created a space for user generated content. Users create their own humorous pictures, catchphrases, hashtags or videos, called internet memes, which are widely shared via social media. These memes, often satirical, are also used to express political criticism. As such, it represents a new form of political participation and deserves further inquiry. This study (i) analyses the content of internet memes posted on Dutch right-wing populist Facebook pages; and (ii) using an experimental design, it examines the impact of memes on political cynicism and sympathy for politicians. The results show that (i) memes are more than just entertaining images. They are carriers of anger and political discontent; (ii) yet, there is not enough evidence to assert that memes affect political cynicism or attitudes towards politicians.
Keywords: right-wing populism, internet memes, new social media, political participation, digital culture
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