Memes Are Today’s Pamphlets
With each passing day, it seems that attention spans get shorter. As libertarians trying to win hearts and minds, knowing our audience’s preferences is an important part of planning and marketing our message.
There are no shortage of libertarian books, many of which you can find available for sale here, to spread the libertarian philosophy and message. For many people just beginning to look at our philosophy, a book may be too large of a commitment right away.
As the American Revolution began, pamphleteers like James Otis, Stephen Hopkins, and John Dickinson used that medium to quickly and cheaply get their positions on taxation to the masses, who appreciated the brevity and style. One of the most famous pamphlets of the era was Thomas Paine’s Common Sense. Paine authored and distributed one of the strongest and most effective arguments for independence, and it was read widely throughout the colonies.
This trend continued as the Constitution debate raged, with Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay writing 85 essays distributed in this format to defend their views for its adoption, while Richard Henry Lee, Samuel Bryan, Robert Yates and others debated the other side. The authorship of the latter essays remains debated today, yet these men are currently seen as the most likely writers, along with a few others.
As media grew with innovation, radio helped reach an even wider audience in a shorter amount of time, with television surpassing it as a medium for sharing ideas with the masses. These formats offered a variety of options to market products and ideas, often allowing producers to reach the critical mass necessary for success.
Today, we see the internet shaping innovation, especially with social media. Facebook is the largest destination on the Web, besting Google’s sites and YouTube (also owned by Google) by wider margins every day.
While you and I may appreciate a wall of text filled with information and links to the studies behind the facts and figures within it, that format may not sway others. What I have found to be all the rage on social media as an engaging post is a witty combination of words and images to get a point across. They are easily shareable and can convey a message in an easily digestible format for mass consumption.
Here are some of the more popular internet memes we’ve shared on our Facebook page:
While we could have written treatises outlining the infringements of licensing on our liberties, the litany of ways government intrudes into our lives, and the effectiveness of free markets over central planning, we opted to speak to our audience with memes.
When are you going to start using them to share your libertarian thoughts?