|Culture Social networks Social media Human behavior
A person who has used the internet in the past few days has probably come across a couple of memes. Evolutionary biologist, Richard Dawkins was the first person to introduce the word meme in 1976. Mimema is a Greek word that brought about a meme name. According to Richard, memes are a form of propagation of culture to transmit ideas of the culture and social memories to one another. The idea of the meme will travel from one person to another person's mind unlike how the genes will travel from one location to another amongst living things. Modern memes travel instantly and spread faster through the internet. Internet memes are full of humor as they grab the attention of the people more than the actual meme content. A modern meme is transmitted virally through a photograph captioned with texts that provokes humor as a social idea or the symbol of culture. Most of the modern memes are intended to be funny in most cases to publicly make fun of a person's behavior. Memes are mostly virally spread by the young generation because they are more connected to social media through channels such as Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Instagram, and YouTube (Varis et al. 13). There is increasing in the average age of meme users through the popularity of the internet and readily affordable and available smartphones.
Memes play different roles in modern culture to convey different information from person to person ridiculously. They can create for opportunities parents can talk to their teenage kids about important issues such as war possibility or disease pandemics. For instance, a viral meme that shows two hands slicing a lemon fruit with a caption-"me preparing for the coronavirus". Despite the struggle of the health workers to obtain a cure for the disease that has killed many people, the meme ridicules on a beer-branded Corona to suggest that there is no important need to get worried. On the internet, memes use images to show humour, celebrate, or reprimand current events and a known culture. Consequently, memes have created a method on how teenagers communicate in the modern digital world. Teens obtain news through memes shared on Instagram and Snapchat, unlike the parents and teachers who mostly rely on Facebook and Tweeter for news reports. As a result, there is the existence of a gap in how the teens and the elderly understand and react to the same news events. Memes present a chance to discuss definitions of unhealthy and healthy behavior in families since nowadays adolescents are exposed to more technology than the previous generations. Therefore, adults need to guide teens on their behavior. Parents should keep on reminding their kids that memes can be created by any person, even those that intend to spread information that is meant to bring the conflict in society.
Social media has hugely played a role in political campaigns and politics at large. Various individuals have discovered an opportunity through social media platforms to express their beliefs in politics in a manner that is entertaining, funny, and accessible. Memes are a unique tool for expressing those beliefs. A meme can be a video or an image with a text that is partially altered to create reactions on various circumstances. Memes have been used in discussing politics through entertainment which can draw a lot of attention to the people (Tay et al. 46-73). As many young citizens learn and mould their opinions on social platforms and memes basis, less action is left from traditional news sources in sharing political information. Young voters use memes through social media as a political tool as they are showing huge turnouts in campaigns. Sometimes memes tend to seem as silly internet time dwellers, it has come to be a powerful tool for communication. Humour is a vessel hugely used to engage the masses in places that have little public interests. The viral and fast spread of memes makes it a powerful tool for effectively shaping the image of the public of different election campaigns candidates.
Religiously oriented memes on the internet are spread through various messages and interpretive practices of religion in the modern era to trend a religion online hence creating an interesting understanding of the living religion. New media is taking part in spreading the process of people enacting and expressing their religious beliefs. Religious based memes create an image and language of a secular and a sacred assembled online to portray personalized insight of a religion. Memes provide a vessel where the users can make meaning and sense of what they believe by the creation of religious visual expressions (Burroughs et al. 357-377). These are as a result reshaped by other people by reinterpreting the memes within their personal experiences and understandings.
The shift of culture to socialism has become apparent regardless of the birth of memes. Little is done by memes to combat the increasing behavior towards a life of online, thus encouraging a change from reality. Both polarization and fractionalization are got online among ideological groups that are different. The identity-driven characteristic of memes makes them a strong tool for marketing. The destroying aspect of memes and the culture of the internet is that the methods used to market commodities as items for consumers and lifestyle have been embraced for campaign personalization across the face of social life. The marketing team can analyze the calculations that end up with the best meme to sell, for example, a movie, though it will not beat a thing made by a younger teen.
Memes usually last for a limited period since they appear and vanish with no time. Most of the adorable cultural ideas are transmitted throughout the world by memes. They linger for some time in social media such as Facebook then they disappear unless they are reposted. From a digital perspective, meme's death is not a mysterious phenomenon than its birth. The death of memes is caused by a gradual lack of interest and people becoming tired of them. ROFLCon, convection about internet memes brought a change in the character of the culture of memes started through Facebook and Twitter. It was indeed the end of an era that was defined by subgenres such as Doge and LOLcats. It was fearful that some memes would betray a particular community that viewed memes as an intellectual asset of their own. "Wistfully nostalgic for the slower-speed good ol' days," Wired's Brian Barrett reported Poole's quote. "These days, memes spread faster and wider than ever, with social media acting as fuel for mass distribution," Andy Baio wrote. Poole and Baio portray that something crucial in memetics is lost when they are shared with a larger mass of people. Memes extinction will be caused by social networks. Provided that creativity continues within the world, memes are not getting to extinction. The vanishing of memes is the beginning of the creation of other new material for more memes. Memes from the internet seem to remain alive but individual memes vanish faster. Overexposure of memes is partially to blame for their disappearance since alone it cannot account for the lifespan varied amongst the memes that are concurrent. Some memes last longer than others. Looking at memes as jokes can help to get answers to why some memes vanish and when is the return of the others. Elise Kramer, an anthropologist, points out that jokes can never be unpacked or explicated but memes with jokes draw more attention to people. The guardian's Elena pointed that, "When it comes to memes, there's a rule: it is dead as soon as the think pieces come out." She directly equates memetics to fun by pointing that memetics stop being funny as soon as they go mainstream since jokes get less funny once they are explained. Observing jokes as artifacts of culture, researching individuals are concerned with both plotting the life cycle of a joke and a context of a society that causes the public to engage in a particular joke at a specific time. For example, lightbulb jokes came as a result of a joke of ethnicity in the 1960s. Many lightbulb jokes looked to be an opinion on some economic, social, and cultural positions even though they do not cross racial status or ethnicity. Memes draw and maintain the attention of the people at a particular period since something on that period creates a situation that makes a meme enticing. New contexts lead to the creation of new memes as the old ones diminish through the changes in contexts. Distance and time can help in evaluating reasons why some memes drew more attention to people and others disappeared quickly while others stayed. Cultural, economic, and political moments that we live in can provide the reasons provided the memes can be remembered.
Memes can be used for educational purposes as they have philanthropic value, which in sophisticated contexts, can enhance critical thinking. Since memes are ridiculous, students might not realize they are indeed learning. Skills such as critical thinking and creativity are used by students when creating memes. Complex dialogue can be sparked by memes because they deal with social issues or events which are current. Students still, gain skills of technology in the process (Nowak et al. 73-79). Memes can reinforce what is being taught in the classroom or online unit that indicates current lessons. As a result, excitement is also generated about things that are being taught. Students can increase their vocabulary by creating memes by defining and using new words. The creation of excitement on new topics by introducing memes. The memes will also help the teacher draw the attention of the students. The teacher gets to know the students by asking them to create their memes about themselves. Therefore, memes can aid relieve stress through jokes, and connection to individuals with mutual opinions.
Silly memes have an impact on society through a change in culture in the same way as of evolution in biology but in a different vessel. The brain is the medium where memetic evolution occurs through natural selection. Silly memes convey jokes over serious topics on death and suicide which have been considered normal by the society of today. Empathy on sensitive issues has ceased as through social media, a person can solely take an instance of school shootings to make young scholars find humor and laugh about it (Baysac et al. 267-281). Using memes as a basis of giving glory to social problems can have detrimental impacts on people's psychology. It feels like society has lacked respect for its problems since it normalizes serious things like depression and suicide instead of finding methods for a solution.
Baysac, Paulo Emmanuel G., and Paulo G. Emmanuel. "Laughter in class: Humorous memes in 21st-century learning." Journal of Social Sciences (COES&RJ-JSS) 6.2 (2017): 267-281.
Burroughs, Benjamin, and Gavin Feller. "Religious memetics: Institutional authority in digital/lived religion." Journal of Communication Inquiry 39.4 (2015): 357-377.
Nowak, Jakub. "Internet meme as meaningful discourse: Towards a theory of multiparticipant popular online content." Central European Journal of Communication 9.16 (2016): 73-89.
Tay, Geniesa. "Binders full of LOLitics: Political humor, internet memes, and play in the 2012 US Presidential Election (and beyond)." The European Journal of Humour Research 2.4 (2015): 46-73.
Varis, Piia, and Jan Blommaert. "Conviviality and collectives on social media: Virality, memes, and new social structures." Multilingual Margins: A Journal of Multilingualism from the Periphery 2.1 (2015): 31-31.
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