The Census Bureau wants you to make memes to promote the 2020 count
What’s your favorite recent meme? Does Baby Yoda speak to you? Still holding out for a Distracted Boyfriend resurgence? Are you Sorry To This Man?
Whatever your preference may be, the U.S. Census Bureau wants to encourage you to take a meme format of your choice and build a version that will encourage your fellow internet-dwellers to respond to the upcoming 2020 census. Truly.
This is the mission of Accelerate, an initiative launched by the Census Open Innovation Labs that’s working with community-based creatives to create content (memes and more) tailored to specific hard-to-count populations.
The content created isn’t official census 2020 marketing and it isn’t owned or controlled or even approved by the Census Bureau. Instead, it’s a more home-grown form of outreach to complement the official stuff — at its best an explanation of why participation in the census is important, in a community’s own words.
“The media landscape has changed radically in the last 10 years,” Accelerate’s website explains. “With the rise of social news and media fragmentation, there’s a need for more accurate, engaging content on media channels that people use the most in 2020.”
To this end, Accelerate has convened 16 “create-a-thon” events around the country over the past year, many of which have focused on specific hard-to-count populations like highly mobile young people, non-English speakers or members of the LGBTQ community. Collectively over 300 pieces of content have been created, ranging from snarky memes about data to pieces of original art and beyond.
The Census Bureau’s involvement, director Mara Abrams told FedScoop, is primarily about making sure that the community-created content has the correct information about the census on it. In this way, a flood of pro-census memes may be an antidote to the misinformation that many fear will crop up during this year’s count.
Moving forward, Abrams hopes to scale the effort both through new partnerships, additional events and with the help of ordinary community leaders, artists and internet memers. Accelerate has created a toolkit to help more people host create-a-thons of their own.
“Together, we create awesome content that resonates with communities by taking into account their specific concerns and motivations,” the Accelerate website reads.
You absolutely love to see it.