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238th Independence Day

Social media reaction to 4th of July

Americans are taking to social media to organise events in celebration of Independence Day today; commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on 4 July, 1776, which secured autonomy from Great Britain, these days Americans seem less interested in the history behind the event and more keen to upload pictures and videos of their day off to social media.

Every year since 2000, Google has celebrated the 4th of July with a specially designed Doodle – this year’s animation shows a miniature parade, with a marching band keeping step to the beat of ‘Stars and Stripes Forever’.

Last year saw a Doodle road trip across America with a family of animated dogs, passing national icons like the Statue of Liberty and Mount Rushmore. Now more likely to be celebrated with GIFs, Tweets and Facebook posts, there was a time when the traditional (but now largely obsolete) well-wishing postcard would suffice.

However the founding fathers’ belief that all governments derive "their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed" seems somewhat incongruous with Facebook’s recent activities, abusing its power without the consent of its users.

Fireworks, parades and barbecues are the name of the game today – unfortunately the annual Ocean Beach Marshmallow War, which draws thousands of eager marshmallow tossers to the San Diego hippy community each year, has been banned by authorities due to increased exposure from social media. Denni Knox, executive director of the Ocean Beach Main Street Association, said: “[The Marshmallow War] was really fun until it hit social media a few years ago. Now there's just too much mess to clean up. Last year we were astonished at the damage. It's like chewing gum, only worse. You can't get it off. It's still visible a year later.”

Despite this, the majority of American companies will be planning their social media content around the nation’s biggest summer holiday. There’s countless ways in which brands and digital marketers can take advantage of the holiday, tapping into the themes of independence, history, patriotism and summer fun.

So, amidst the barrage of Tweets, Vines and Facebook updates that will overwhelm social networks today, how much do you really know about Independence Day?
  • Even though Americans celebrate on the 4th of July, the correct date is in fact the 2nd when Congress actually voted through independence from Britain.
  • John Adams, one of those present at the signing 238 years ago, declared that the day ‘ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more’. Images and videos uploaded to Instagram and Vine are testament to his vision.
  • Contrary to popular belief, George Washington didn’t actually sign the Declaration – he was away on business in New York, and only read a copy of the document a week later.
  • In 1989, someone found one of just 26 known copies of the original 200 copies of the Declaration printed by John Dunlap – it sold for auction in 2000 for $8 million.

Katie Rowley

Recent graduate and now interning as content editor, when she's not writing articles Katie can quite likely be found festival-ing, holiday-ing or reading a book (dedicated English student that she is). Follow her @KatieAtSMF.

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238th Independence Day Reviewed by Anonymous on Friday, July 04, 2014 Rating: 5
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