Nerds 1, Super Bowl 0: #Lightsout as a site of negotiation
When the lights went out in the Superdome for Superbowl XLVII, Twitter erupted. During the blackout, users generated a staggering 285,000 tweets per minute—more than at any other point during the game. An analysis of tweets containing the #LightsOut hashtag revealed an interested trend: Pop culture references. Interestingly, these tweets renegotiate the Super Bowl narrative as a form of storytelling—specific to their referenced pop culture text—under the shared theme of a hashtag. Take for example the tweet: “@ArryPottah: The power went out at the Super Bowl. Too bad you Muggles don’t have Lumos. #lightsout #poweroutage” This tweet uses the Harry Potter pejorative term for non-magical humans “Muggles” along with “Lumos,” the name of a spell, to appropriate the Super Bowl narrative into a Potter storyline. Similar tactics were displayed across the tweets that made references to pop culture titles (Batman, Hunger Games, etc.). Thus #lightsout allowed potentially marginalized “Geek culture” communities to appropriate the Super Bowl narrative away from the classic machismo, consumerist rhetoric to one of their own.