In an age where almost any information can be represented in the universal format of binary code the power of any individual to manipulate content will be greatly enhanced. Like most other political movements, #Climatehoax is keen to make use of the new remix and convergence culture. Even during a cursory glance at social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube, it is clear that #Climatehoax relies on remix and convergence culture. For example, searching for “climate hoax” on Facebook one of the top results is:
The image was presumably captured by someone working for a major media organization. Then by adding a few lines of text, someone transformed this innocuous image into a political statement about the falsity of climate change. As is the case with most areas of internet culture, the use of these memes by climate hoaxers is widespread. The images they use are usually of two types. One type is anything depicting a frigid, arctic world which could include anything from pictures of the Arctic to snow covered cities to ironic polar bears. The above Leonardo meme is an example of the second type, that of a prominent climate change activist. As one of the most widely known champions of climate change aversion, Al Gore is a popular target but Hillary Clinton and activist celebrities like Leonardo are frequently used as well. The texts usually insinuate that the climate change advocate is either corrupt or is a hypocrite with regards to some carbon expelling action.
Convergence culture deeply permeates the online discussion around #climatehoax as well. Despite the preference for new online news media sites like Breitbart, a substantial amount of the content posted to Facebook and Twitter originates from traditional media organizations. One recent example is from the Wall Street Journal:
The authors argue that not only should carbon dioxide not be considered a harmful pollutant but that increased atmospheric CO2 will benefit humanity. The excessive amount of the greenhouse gas will serve as a plant fertilizer which will help to avoid the impending food shortage for a growing world population. Other examples of the use of traditional media on social networks can be seen in earlier blog posts. Although certainly a part of the #climatehoax conversation, this type of media convergence plays a minor role judging by the low amount of likes and reshares.
Much more powerful and popular examples of remix and convergence culture are found on Youtube. Although the video sharing site might not be the quintessential social media platform, it nonetheless functions quite similar. Users can have their own profiles where they can interact with others via sharing, liking, and commenting on content. Furthermore, Youtube is integrated with other social media platforms, and its content is frequently shared on other platforms as well.
One of the top results from a search of “climate hoax” on Youtube is from StevenCrowder:
Apparently, Crowder is a conservative radio personality and he has a substantial following of 491,869 subscribers on Youtube. Some of his other videos include “Fracking is a Miracle”, “DEBUNKED: #BlackLivesMatter”, and “Why ‘Democratic’ Socialism Doesn’t Work”. The above video that sets out to debunk climate change has 361,822 views. This video is a phenomenal example of both remix and convergence culture. The style quick and punchy with the usual pauses in dialogue edited out or filled in with an ironic or otherwise relevant movie and tv clips. Throughout the video, he discusses and supports his arguments with traditional media articles and mainstream media coverage. In a time when a person’s online attention is constantly contested, this video is able to keep you watching. It melds climate denialist arguments and information with humor and pop culture references at an intense pace. No doubt in a new media environment, this type of video is highly effective at communicating the #climatehoax message.