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Dr. Lynne McNeill's Essay, "Classifying #BlackLivesMatter"


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Dr. Lynne McNeill’s essay “Classifying #BlackLivesMatter: Genre and Form in Digital Folklore” has recently appeared in Folklore and Social Media, a new collection of essays edited by Trevor Blank and Andrew Peck. Published by the University of Colorado/Utah State University Press, Folklore and Social Media is the latest in an unofficial series from USU Press, which began with the 2009 publication of the first scholarly volume on digital folklore, Trevor Blank's Folklore on the Internet. Looking at USU’s Digital Folklore Project Digital Trend of the Year, #BlackLivesMatter, Lynne’s essay lays out the purpose and process of the project and considers the value of its contributions to the subjects of new media, linguistics, and traditional folkloric forms. As she writes, "A hashtag is not only an act more than a word, it's also a call to action for others, a suggestion at least to receive, to actively listen to if not actively collaborate with, an ongoing performance or event" (164). Understanding digital vernacular content as folklore highlights aspects of this pervasive communicative medium that reveal the power and insight of everyday people.