7.11: Memes and TikToks as Political Cartoons

Political cartoons and comics, as well as memes and TikToks, are visuals with a purpose. Writers and artists use these genres to entertain, persuade, inform, and express fiction and nonfiction ideas creatively and imaginatively.

Like political cartoons and comics, memes and TikToks have the potential to provide engaging and memorable messages that can influence the political thinking and actions of voters regarding local, state, and national issues.

At the same time, like other forms of social media, memes and TikTok videos must be approached from a critical media literacy perspective. This platform can misinform rather than inform its users -- 60% of whom are between the ages of 16 and 24. Analyzing 540 search results on TikTok, researchers found that that one in five videos suggested to viewers contained false and misleading claims on topics such as vaccines, climate change, the 2000 election, the January 6 insurrection, abortion, and the war in Ukraine (Beware of the 'New Google:' TikTok's Search Engine Pumps Misinformation to Its Young Users, Brewster et al., 2022).

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In this activity, you will evaluate the design and impact of political memes, TikTok videos, editorial cartoons, and political comics and then create your own to influence others about a public issue.

Activity: Analyze Political Cartoons, Memes, and TikToks

Designing for Learning: Student-Created Activity Example

Memes and TikToks as Political Cartoons by Maria Trifiro

Additional Resources

Connecting to the eBook

Building Democracy for All: Evaluating Editorials, Editorial Cartoons, and Op-Ed Commentaries

Connecting to the Standards