Meme Culture: What is It?
You may have heard the term ‘meme’ before while talking about the internet, and you may even know what a meme vaguely is, but what does it mean when people talk about ‘meme culture’ and its impact?
Different Types of Memes
Memes are essentially just shareable jokes comprising of a picture and text that are found online, but they take a lot of different forms.
Some memes are user-made comics that are created using an established, easily recognizable set of figures and expressions, called Rage Comics. These are normally used to tell personal stories that are funny or embarrassing, and people use template sites like RageMaker.net to create them. These are normally shared on more anonymous sites than Facebook, due to the often personal nature of the jokes.
Another popular type of meme involves simply captioning a picture to make it funnier. Pictures of cats are often used, in a form of meme called a ‘lolcat‘. Any kind of picture can be made into a meme however, including classical art, and pictures of celebrities.
A third kind of meme involves using a picture that already has a meaning in meme culture, and captioning it in a new way that is topical or relevant to a conversation. Lots of pictures already have a place in the world of memes, from ‘success kid’ and ‘overly attached girlfriend’ to Fry from Futurama saying ‘shut up and take my money’.
This list is by no means exhaustive, but gives you an idea of some of the popular types of memes out there.
Meme Culture and Millennials
The main users of memes – in terms of creating and sharing them – are millennials and teens. These are people who have been seeing memes for well over a decade and see them as a great way to make a joke, share a funny story, laugh at popular culture, or even make a point.
The prevalence of memes on both social media and on meme sites like 9Gag means that the meme world moves very fast, and something that is seen as hilarious this week may well have run its course by next, which is perhaps good news for celebrities who become the subject of less flattering memes.
Meme Culture and Politics
The ability to create funny memes is something a lot of internet users take pride in, but because memes can often have political or social messages, they can become controversial.
The anonymous online group 4chan has some members who have taken to ‘trolling’ the media by leaking fake news that an innocuous meme, such as a meme called the ‘trash dove‘, is being used as a white supremacy symbol. They have managed to con journalists into covering completely fake stories like this about memes on several occasions.
As you can see, memes are effectively just online jokes shared between users, however sometimes, they can cause quite a lot of uproar.
Disclosure: This is a collaborative post and the author’s views here do not necessarily reflect those of the blog owner. Threadnz.com occasionally receives monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for mentioning and/or linking to any products and services from this blog.
18th January 2018
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