In the midst of Hillary Clinton’s victory speech Tuesday night, the writer and Democratic strategist Laura Olin tweeted a brilliant piece of “tiny emoji art” to celebrate the historic nature of Clinton’s presumptive nomination.
It was retweeted and liked a combined 8,000 times.
And then — predictably! — it was stolen.
Not by just anyone, mind you: In the hours after Olin’s tweet *celebrating a great moment for women* went viral, it was apparently lifted, without credit, by a series of men. Many of them were themselves journalists or political operatives; several have since deleted their tweets after followers objected.
“They apparently had zero appreciation of the irony,” an exasperated Olin told Intersect by DM. “Honestly I think it’s a wider anthropological sign of what the Internet is like now and I’m resigned to that — but the white men appropriating it last night of all nights was a bit too much for me.”
Olin is not naive about the way attribution and appropriation work — make that don’t work — online: She’s a social media strategist for Democratic campaigns and was the architect behind Barack Obama’s wildly successful social media strategy in 2012. She points to the infamous case of the “Hi Becky” meme, or “the Fat Jew’s entire existence”: Basically, there’s no standards for attribution in viral culture … which is how people like Matt McDermott can get a funny text and tweet the joke out himself without ever crediting the intermediary or the person who wrote it.
Still, there’s something especially grating about a bunch of dudes stealing a woman’s Hillary Clinton meme. It’s not surprising or unusual, but it is frustrating: almost like they haven’t read our think pieces or something!
(To be clear, that’s not my joke — Nicole Chung made it first. And no, for the record, giving that credit did not hurt.)
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