New Media Index: How a Pop Tune Became the Hottest Social Media Meme

Jun 14, 2012

It's not often that a catchy pop song and speeches from President Obama fit together, but in the world of internet memes and viral videos, the two have collided to create a social media sensation.

A video produced by a 19-year-old sophomore at the University of Tennessee mashed together snippets from Obama speeches to make it seem as if he is singing the hit song "Call Me Maybe." In five days' time, it generated almost 8 million views on YouTube-making it the most-watched YouTube news video last week. It was also the week's No. 2 topic on Twitter, according to the New Media Index from the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism.

The video, which lasts less than two minutes, is the latest illustration of the phenomenon of the internet "meme," a message or idea that spreads rapidly via the web and often becomes a popular cultural touchstone. And in this case, it also shows how with improved technology the thread of a meme develops. There are now thousands of different spin-offs of the "Call Me Maybe" dance hit featuring everyone from former Secretary of State Colin Powell to the Harvard baseball team doing their version of the catchy tune.

The massive appeal of this meme has even led a number of organizations from Major League Baseball to the Miss USA Pageant to join the "Call Me Maybe" craze as a way to advertise their own products.

Read the full report, How a Pop Tune Became the Hottest Social Media Meme, on the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism website.

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