#BlueLivesMatter refers to the blue uniform that police wear. The hashtag #BlueLivesMatter is used as a tag on posts regarding anything about support and sympathy for the police force or discussing the importance of the police force in communities in general. #BlueLivesMatter is often used as a response to another very common hashtag, #BlackLivesMatter, which regards the overwhelming number of shootings of Black individuals by the police. By using the Hashtagify.me social media analysis tool, I found that the major hashtags associated with my issue were #Trump2016, #BlackLivesMatter, #AllLivesMatter, #MAGA, #tcot, #Dallas, #PJNet, #PoliceLivesMatter, #WakeUpAmerica, and #ThinBlueLine. #MAGA stands for “Make America Great Again” and #tcot is short for Top Conservatives on Twitter. Presidential candidate Donald Trump is the Republican Party nominee for this year’s presidential election. Trump often uses the slogan “Make America Great Again” in his pursuit to “bring back the American dream.” When “Top Conservatives on Twitter” is used as the hashtag #tcot, it provides a way for Republicans in general, but conservatives in particular to find, like, or retweet the tweets of other Republicans and conservatives with their same viewpoints. Users have also taken their views on the topic of Blue Lives Matter to PJNet. PJNet is the Patriot Journalist Network, conservatives trying to advance the conservative cause through twitter usage. So, conservatives and people who support the conservative agenda use these hashtags to see content they agree with. On Instagram, I found that the top posts that came up when I searched #bluelivesmatter were more related to politics than police.
Like twitter, Trump and his campaign was highly incorporated into the blue lives matter hashtag. The more recent posts were highly influenced by the recent election. I saw posts about anti-Muslim, immigration laws, and anti-trump protests. [picture] These posts were tagged with things like #MAGA, #buildthewall, #Hilaryforprison2016, and #nobama right alongside #bluelivesmatter. . The hashtag #BlueLivesMatter is often used as a backlash or rebuttal to the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag or even #AllLivesMatter. In another sense, #AllLivesMatter is used as a backlash to the Black Lives Matter movement. This creates three sides to this one topic. . In comparison to Twitter, Facebook posts regarding the blue lives matter movement are less focused on politics and more focused on the police officers. Posts are more specific, tying into police officers lives as individuals instead of the integrity of the police force as a whole. There are many posts that show pictures of officers and their families. Some posts include selfies that officers have taken while on the job, pictures with police dogs, or pictures of them doing something related to their job.
All of these types of posts use pathos to try to appeal to the community and society as a whole. They have the aim of convincing people to have sympathy- or at least empathy for police officers, too. I did not see as many argumentative posts bashing other opposing causes like the black lives matter movement on Facebook as I did on Twitter. However, there are some exceptions, and supporters do make a point to post reports of news regarding their opposers, in an effort to further their cause.
Now compare these two photos of Smith- mean mugging, holding guns, and the happy, smiling police officers. The two pictures create completely different effects. Anyone comparing the two is bound to feel differently about the subject of each photo. The police officer seems inviting, approachable, and innocent, while Smith seems threatening, dangerous, and corrupt. So we can see how posts are used to further the blue lives matter cause and in some cases, discredit the black lives matter movement.
Another trend I found is that Blue Lives Matter supporters try to use anything to discredit their opposition. There is a lot of back lash about anti-trump protests blocking roadways and causing danger to society.
Now in the readings and class discussions we talked about what is called remix culture and convergence culture. From my understanding, remix culture can be described as a group that accepts new products created by combining or editing already existing works, as far as media. Naturally, it is permissive of efforts to “remix” the work of copyright holders. In Henry Jenkins book, Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide, he talks about convergence culture. He says, convergence culture is where grassroots and corporate media intersects, where the power of the media producer and the power of the media consumer interact in unpredictable ways. The book discusses the relationship between media convergence, participatory culture, and collective intelligence. When researching my topic Blue Lives Matter, and going through social media posts related to it, I did not find much evidence of remix culture or convergence culture in this sense. The only example of convergence culture I could find is the whole concept of the social media pages itself- where users give their viewpoints of news released on the television, in newspapers (old media) in posts posted on social media sites (new media). Jenkins goes on to explain convergence as “the flow of content across multiple media platforms, the cooperation between multiple media industries, and the migratory behavior of media audiences who will go almost anywhere in search of the kinds of entertainment experiences they want.” So, conservatives and people who support with the conservative agenda use these hashtags to see content they agree with. Police officers taking selfies of themselves on the job and civilians recording police deadly force incidents on their mobile phones can be tied into the theme of remix culture and convergence culture. Because of the time that we are now living in, social media is more prominent than it has ever been. To appeal to people to gain support for the Blue Lives Matter cause, police are using selfies of them looking happy and friendly and uploading them on social media. On the other side, we now live in a time where things are so accessible that civilians can record a police officer shooting and killing unarmed or cooperating individuals. These are some things that can be tied into the theme of remix and convergence culture.