Political types reacted with alarm at a recent survey that found only 26 percent of millennials definitely plan to vote in the midterm elections. (That compares to 58 percent of voters overall.) While activists and party spokespeople took to the airwaves with ominous warnings and messages about civic responsibility, a few civilians took matters into their own hands and spoke to under-30s in their native tongue: Twitter memes.
Rickrolling Twitter memes, to be precise.
Vice reports that last Friday, a Twitter user named Ashlee Marie Preston decided to capitalize on headlines about Kanye West‘s bizarre meeting with President Trump. She tweeted a tease to an apparent breaking news story about West and Kim Kardashian splitting up, using a bit.ly link that obscured the source.
Welp…it’s official…Kim Kardashian finally decided to divorce Kanye West… https://t.co/C2p25mxWJO
— Ashlee Marie Preston (@AshleeMPreston) October 12, 2018
More than 2.5 million people clicked on the link, which went to vote.gov, the government’s official voter registration website.
Following the success of that tweet, a Twitter user named Tim Cigelske decided to exploit a real breaking celebrity story — Sunday’s news about Ariana Grande and Pete Davidson’s ending their engagement — to the same end. “Wow I can’t believe this is why Ariana Grande and Pete Davidson split up,” he tweeted, with a bit.ly link to vote.org, a website that registers voters, confirms whether they’re already registered, and has a list of nearby polling places.
— Tim (@cigelske) October 14, 2018
More than 1 million people clicked through. “I figured this has potential to be a hit, I just never thought it would blow up this big,” Cigelske told Vice, who added he hopes “something good can come of this break-up.”
If you too want to ensure that Ariana and Pete’s suffering is not in vain by registering to vote, here’s a list of voting registration deadlines in each state and information about early voting.