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utah state university


The Lore:

The Digital Folklore Project (DFP) is a virtual research and tracking center hosted by Utah State University's Department of English, Folklore Program, and Fife Folklore Archives in the Merrill-Cazier Library. The DFP tracks digital folklore trends (such as urban legends, Internet memes, hashtags, vines, and other trending items) on an annual basis. The DFP is dedicated to the documentation and study of this influential and growing cultural form. It creates digital depositories of this online lore and makes its annual findings publicly available regarding the most significant types of digital folklore for the calendar year.

After attending one of our panels at the American Folklore Society, Utah State University got in touch with us. After a long series of talks, we learned that they needed a judge for the Digital Folklore Project at USU. We were invited to serve on their panel, where we will serve as trend forecasters for the next six years! Every year, we vote on eight entries on a ballot that the students in the Folklore Program at USU construct each year and send out electronically around the end of November. 


 While the DFP enthusiastically crowdsources materials from all over the world (encouraging both professional and amateur digital ethnographers to tweet about trends they've spotted using the hashtag #DigitalTrendOfTheYear), the Research Team performs the core of both field research and ballot preparation for the Digital Trend Of the Year competition. The research team tweets regularly and draws up monthly field notes about their observations, notes that will be preserved along with the twitter feeds in the archival holdings of the Fife Folklore Archives at USU. Through these efforts, the DFP hopes to preserve and present to researchers an on-the-ground perspective on digital everyday life through time. The Research Team is the heart of the DFP; their efforts shape our ongoing understanding of our digital experience.

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digital TrendS
of the year 2020:

Other 2020 Digital Trend of the Year contenders included:

-gender-reveal memes

-presidential election memes

-Zoom meetings memes

-TikTok “Level-Up” videos of cats and dogs jumping over rolls of toilet paper

-“washyourlyrics,” an handwashing infographic that populates with different song lyrics

-The TikTok “Dreams” video (and the many videos it inspired) of @420doggface208 skateboarding while drinking cranberry juice and listening to Fleetwood Mac

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We are always looking for new and exciting opportunities to preserve, protect and perform folklore. Please join with us!

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