From Candace to Kanye: Tracing The Flow Of Online Stories
Candace Owens of Turning Point USA’s response to hecklers should have lived and died in a three-day online news cycle. Let’s examine how posting at a very specific time of the week can bounce a story back and forth from bloggers to celebrities in order to package itself for mainstream media consumption.
First, let’s sketch a cascade of media coverage from the initial event before going back and identifying what happened behind the scenes to turn Kanye into a fan.
- Fri 13 April:
- Coverage of Owens in The Layafette student paper with Nigel Farage. Owens says that her job is to focus on government overinvolvement in the black community, and to grow “that arm of Turning Point, hyper-focusing in the black community.”
- Tues 17 April:
- Candace Owens (along with Charlie Kirk) from Turning Point USA appear at UCLA and Owens responds to BLM hecklers, saying that they living a “victim mentality.”
- Wed 18 April:
- Coverage of Owens with mention Social Autopsy by the Rocky Mountain Collegian about a visit by Candace Owens at Colorado State University responding to allegations of white supremacists in Turning Point USA after TPUSA founder Charlie Kirk was brought to campus.
- Candace Owens retweets Kanye West
- Candace Owens tweets about the “great event” but that the SUV used at the event was broken into and Dave Rubin, who attended, had his things taken.
- Thurs 19 April:
- Crickets. More likely, she was traveling and catching up with work and rest.
- Friday 20 April:
- Saturday 21 April:
- Sun 22 April:
- Mon 23 April:
- Jordan Peterson on Fox News for six minutes discussing the events.
- Kanye tweets video clips from Scott Adams’ livestream.
- Alex Jones wants Kanye on InfoWars
- Right Wing Watch posts about how the “New Right Fell In Love With Kanye West,” adding on the names of Laura Loomer, Ian Miles Cheong, Mike Cernovich, Ben Shapiro and Paul Joseph Watson.
Two weeks ago I predicted that TPUSA would be the burr under the saddle this summer. My guess was based partly on the recent spat of young women taking grad photos showing their concealed carry tucked into their pants, which was propagated by TPUSA.
I predict that @TPUSA (which has a lot of social media ingroup clout) will be a major target of left wing groups over the summer while campus clubs have adjourned. Classic Alinksy tactics. Vet new members carefully! Canadians are pulling for you!
— Yes Margaret? 🍁 (@MargaretsBelly) April 13, 2018
The cost of college is an enormous stress on campuses right now. The environment sparks quickly. It’s good value for time to tick off colleges and speak to college papers. They’re all printed online and filter up fairly quickly.
So, after sketching out the wide swaths we can see how the story started weeks ago. As recently as March 9, Candace Owens was the “Director of Urban Development” but is currently listed as a “Communications Director” on her Twitter account and was mentioned as such by college papers on April 10. Somewhere between March and April, TPUSA decided to rebrand Owens. By bumping the release of the video at UCLA, which was recorded on a Tuesday to Friday, TPUSA rode the wave of weekend drama and online coverage. Dinosaur media logs off at 5pm on a Friday. It’s the oldest trick in the book to release bad news on a Friday afternoon. But, if you want to make a splash with social media then you have to ride the Thursday night/Friday morning wave of bloggers. TPUSA knew that they’d have a hit with this video, and they held it back from the “top level” media. It’s counterintuitive, but stories filter up these days, starting with microblogging. Sending a story to a big name paper is a sure way to be ignore: Stories need action and reaction, they have to be polarizing in order to get those precious clicks. By starting a story during the online news cycle you are guaranteeing that there will be juicy reaction available for big media sources to cover the topic by Monday. And now, I’m looking forward to seeing the attractive and fearless Candace take over next year as the big name conservative to invite to campuses.
The only thing they couldn’t have fully predicted was Kanye’s compliance — but Candace has expressed a love for his work before and was retweeting him during these events. As well, Candace only interacted with fellow blue check marks on Twitter while allowing others to run interference with the lesser-knowns.
Final analysis: If you want celebrity endorsement, echo the ideas of a celebrity pursuant to your narrow scope and retweet them so they see their name on your page when they go search you up. And only talk to people with influence.
I have my own thoughts on celebrities in conservative media, so I’ll stick these here until I remember to get back to them.
Candace Owens: Director of Urban Development for Turning Point USA, lets unaware celebs in on the reality: no one cares what they think.
— Tim Gradous (@tgradous) March 5, 2018
Kanye sings about bleached assholes and wrote a song about his wife called PERFECT BITCH and we're going to praise his opinion on conservative politics now, because he's famous and agrees with us on one thing? You are all fame chasers crying for validation.
— Yes Margaret? 🍁 (@MargaretsBelly) April 23, 2018