Trending #BoycottHamilton, Pence debacle shows the intersection of social media, culture

by Jillian Selzer

Vice President-elect Mike Pence made an appearance at a performance of Hamilton: An American Musical Friday night, and after being met with an explosive response from both audience members and the cast, social media users are lashing out at the musical.

It’s been said that Mike Pence is “no savior” and “sold his soul to the devil”, so it came as no surprise when the audience showered him with boo’s as he took his seat before the showing. Prepared for his attendance, the cast made a collective plea to the future VP after closing curtain.

Perhaps what is even more interesting to see is how the public chose to respond to the spectacle: they took to Twitter and Facebook with the hashtags #BoycottHamilton and #NameAPenceMusical to express their opinions, both in support of and against Mike Pence.

While Twitter’s response was a bit more humorous with users spoofing classic musical names to fit the agenda of the Vice President-elect, the Facebook comments quickly turned ugly and increasingly more aggressive.

screen-shot-2016-11-19-at-9-30-33-pm

(Image courtesy of Facebook)

Regardless of which side of the fence your on when it comes to this debate, the collision of a cultural icon like Hamilton, the political fire of a Trump/Pence administration, and the voice of the American people continually proves that social media is a key tool in amplifying public opinion and discussion.

For many of these responders, social media was the first place they chose to express their opinions publicly. While doing so, it has garnered the attention of thousands of supporters and opposers and took the number one trending spot on Facebook, as seen by the number of likes on each comment. While some people made comments in anger and jest, it stills brings the core issue into the foreground: a divided country in the wake of Trump’s victory.

When something like this goes viral, it only reminds us that social media has become our voice. It’s become the way we spread news, write news, react to news, and everything in between. Social media is now a language rather than a tool. It’s facilitated the intersection of different kinds of people, from all walks of life, with different orientations, races, religions, political views, economic statuses, family dynamics, and cultural backgrounds. The Hamilton reaction is just a small portion of the big picture.

Feature image courtesy of Gage Skidmore via Flickr

Published by

UNT Eagle Strategies

Class members of the social media class in the Mayborn School of Journalism