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#MemeOfTheWeek: Vines of the #GOPdebate

We knew going into this week that any meme we picked would be associated with this Wednesday's GOP debates at the Reagan Library. And because the Internet is consistently awesome, we weren't disappointed. This week, the meme we loved most was Vine-ification of this week's debates.

How'd We Pick This One?

Well, we had a little help. Social media monitoring company Brandwatch tracked tweets surrounding this week's debates, and they were gracious enough to share their insights.

Overall, both debates received over one million mentions on Twitter combined, according to Kellan Terry, a data analyst with Brandwatch. That's less than the number of mentions from last debate, but still, a heckuva lot. And, Twitter mentions for this debate were a bit more evenly spread among candidates.

"You can see that Donald Trump clearly overwhelmed the last debate and he was clearly the most talked about," Terry said. "But this second debate, it seems like the issues and different candidates were starting to emerge, such as Carly Fiorina."

And Fiorina was the star, according to BrandWatch. Of the top three Twitter moments from the debate, Jeb Bush had two — his declaration that his brother George W. Bush kept the U.S. safe, and his confession that he smoked marijuana in his youth. Fiorina was in the top 3, according to BrandWatch, with her response to Donald Trump's recent comments about her looks.

But overall, Fiorina still stole the show. "Jeb Bush had the highlight reel, but Carly was definitely the MVP," Terry said. "She had the most positive sentiment. I believe it was around 72%. She at no point had [positive] mentions that were below 70%."

When we asked BrandWatch what really stood out on Twitter, the answer was a no-brainer for them: the Vines shared on Twitter. All. Those. Vines.

So Many Vines, It's Practically A Vineyard:

Speaking of all that Internet goodwill for Carly Fiorina, there's this Vine, declaring Carly Fiorina a debate winner with footage of her from before the debate even began.

(Remember to click the little speaker icon at the bottom right corner to hear the Vine!)

And then there was this one, when the Internet decided Jeb Bush was cooler than you and anybody else when he confessed to smoking marijuana:

And another one, about Jeb Bush smoking marijuana:

Or how about this mashup of Donald Trump's facial expressions:

Or this one, of Donald Trump, rockin' out hard to Taylor Swift:

What Does This All Mean:

It means this campaign is ripe for parodying. It means social media users are quick, savvy pop culture critics. It means you can set the instrumental to "Gin And Juice" to anything and make it funny.

And, this all means that increasingly, memes are a social media family affair. Most of the Vines this week were discovered on Twitter, and a lot of the popular #GOPdebate Vines actually were created with filters from SnapChat, like this one:

The beauty of the Vine-ification of the GOP debate, and the way it was shared, was that it took social media teamwork to make the dream work.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Sam Sanders
Sam Sanders is a correspondent and host of It's Been a Minute with Sam Sanders at NPR. In the show, Sanders engages with journalists, actors, musicians, and listeners to gain the kind of understanding about news and popular culture that can only be reached through conversation. The podcast releases two episodes each week: a "deep dive" interview on Tuesdays, as well as a Friday wrap of the week's news.
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