These Memes Rickrolled Millions of Visitors to Voter Registration Sites
With midterms quickly approaching, calls for voter registration are at a fever pitch. The internet has sprung up with earnest Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter posts reminding users to register. And this is for a good reason: Though the most recent gallup poll indicated that 58 percent of U.S. adults are certain to vote this year, the figure for ages 18-29 is the lowest, at 26 percent. Being the age group that is the most online, social media posts and memes seem like a great way to reach young people and get them to register to vote.
On Friday, Twitter user Ashlee Marie Preston used Kanye’s recent meet-up with Trump to give her tweet a little more bite—not that people need much provocation to click on Kimye gossip. She used Bitly, a popular URL link shortener and link management app, to obscure the actual link: vote.gov (an official voter registration website of the U.S. government).
The tweet went viral, and more than 2.5 million people clicked on the link, according to the bitly data. While there’s no way to know how many people who clicked on the link actually registered to vote, even a small percentage of the click throughs would be a substantial number.
This tweet inspired Twitter user Tim Cigelske to craft his own sneaky voter registration tweet using the ending of Grandson as a draw. After he saw, “Twitter light up with the break-up news on Sunday Night” Cigelske knew he had “an opportunity, especially to reach a younger audience,” he explains over email. The site he chose to obscure was vote.org, a website that registers voters, allows them to confirm where they’re registered, and tells them about local polling places. “It does only take a few minutes to vote there,” Cigelske said.
The ploy worked—this tweet also went viral, getting more than a million viewers, and counting, to click through. “I figured this has potential to be a hit, I just never thought it would blow up this big,” Cigelske wrote me.
Screenshot via Cigelske, as of Tuesday
Though Cigelske is not an Ariana Grande or Pete Davidson fan he sent his, “condolences to them both,” and says he hopes “something good can come of this break-up.” If this is the meme that encourages more young voters to register, then it will be.
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