Topic 2: Memes

Memes are a peculiar feature of the Internet. In some ways, they are related to Internet slang. For example, many memes involve, or incorporate, phrases of Internet slang. Also, like Internet slang, memes are most commonly practiced in the less formal and professional field of online communication. However, while Internet slang is strictly literary, memes are defined as an activity, concept, catchphrase or piece of media which spreads, often as mimicry, from person to person via the Internet.

One commonality among Internet memes is the use of images that accompany their text. These images are often visual representations or physical manifestations of the joke or message in a meme’s text. For example, the meme known as “do not want” often includes an image of a well-known person or character making a repulsed expression along with the caption, “do not want”.

Many memes represent a very specific reaction or situation that someone may encounter online. Because of this, many of the Internet users that are familiar with memes utilize them to express their reaction to an object, situation, or event. Returning to the “do not want” meme, someone might utilize this meme if they experience something either online or offline that they find disturbing, repulsive, or offensive. This is just one example of how people use memes to communicate on the Internet. What are some other memes that people use, or ways that people use memes?

Sources:

http://knowyourmeme.com/forums/meme-research/topics/13980-academic-research-on-internet-memes

http://antibody-software.com/web/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=18&Itemid=38

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2 thoughts on “Topic 2: Memes

  1. “A picture is worth a thousand words” as the saying goes, and I feel that memes are for just that purpose, to convey a information more quickly than could be conveyed through text. People are hardwired to interpret the meaning of images, especially human faces, very quickly, much quicker than we can interpret text. Pairing the text with an image of a face also attaches an emotion or feeling to the text. This is an important part, because text doesn’t intrinsically convey emotion with the information, so it can be hard to determine if someone is typing something in anger or jest. Human faces, however, are exceptionally good at this, so adding a picture of a face will convey whatever emotions or feelings with the text that writer wishes in an efficient manner. The fact that we can use copy/paste on the internet significantly expedites this process, and allows people to copy other people’s memes that they like, which spreads the meme around very rapidly, until a vast majority of people understand it. Memes are basically really big inside-jokes.

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  2. OK this is a big one for me because i use memes way more than i probably should. I use them as a representation of my actual reaction to messages and/or other types of message based media. The use of memes is unique in that the words mixed with the facial expression/s is a priceless aspect of media messaging. My constituents and i have argued the origin of the meme for a good 20 minutes and concluded that them meme is the offspring of the internet and the concept of the reference.

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