The Effect of Memes on Popular Culture

Memes are one of the greatest accidental inventions of all time. By some miraculous chance, Internet users are able to search and find over a million different memes of various backgrounds. Being that I am a millennial, I am very familiar with memes and how much of a major impact it has on popular culture. In Chapter 4 Cohen and Kenny eloquently says “some memes enter our culture in the form of slang or knowledge, such as the terms “bae”, selfie, or fail, and some enter our mind as something culturally relevant and unforgettable” page 109.  I found this to be extremely important because it is signifies how slang terms whether from online or while spoken, it somehow enters the ecosystem and we have to learn to incorporate it in each of our lives. No matter how old you are or wherever you are in the world, memes will touch your life.

Memes provide an opportunity to connect with people of all sort. To say that memes has not had any effect on popular culture is like saying global warming has had no effect on the world. Memes have become similar to emojis— you use it like anything else. Often times when I am texting my friend, we communicate by sending memes to one another to try and convey our emotions or just have a lost. Sometimes when I am texting the first thing that comes to mind is “OMG let me find a meme for that.” It is the easiest way for me to communicate. In happy moments, in sad moments, in moments of confusion, memes are the way for millennials to express themselves. Memes have absolutely affected every part of popular culture as well as our emotions. Sometimes when individuals see a meme they experience many different emotions such as joy, sadness, happiness, fear etc.

Another added bonus of memes is that it encourages participation and shareability. Memes have the ability to be shared across a wide range of platforms and on smartphones as well which is major. Memes encourage collaborative community while also cultivating a new form of discourse community— they are unlike traditional culture. It allows you to be part of a community and be able to contribute to the community. Many meme composers within the popular culture realm participate with memes on platforms such as weblogs, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat just to name a few. These platforms allow a user to interact with their friends and loved ones using memes and incorporating other multimodal features. The composer has the ability to create, remix, repackage, redistribute the content. Being a part of the content generating community allows for individualism and the composer has given a voice. The community has many affordances and it can add to the digital ecosystem.  With all good things comes the bad. Although you can create and redistribute the content you create, once it goes viral that’s it– you’ve have lost “ownership” of it, it becomes a product of the Internet. 

There is no doubt that memes have had a significant impact on our culture, our ways of knowing, the emotional self, how we see the world and how we interact with it. It is extremely important for content composers, content consumers to keep in mid the effects of memes and new digital literacies and what effects it will have on the population.


Response 7- Memes

When we think about how we communicate on a screen several things come to mind, text messages, emails, Facebook messages or maybe twitter. What we don’t think about is how these modes of communication change how we send each other information. As it says on page 90 of Chapter Four (Cohen and Kenny) “one of the biggest downsides of digital culture is transmission loss of meaning and depth in text in short messages”. This along with the combination of emoji’s and short speak make us pre programmed to keep it short and get to the point. It also opens the door to miscommunication because how I type something may not be the way its read by someone else, which can either be a funny misunderstanding or something more serious like offending someone.

This idea relates to page 338 of the Gries article where she talks about the consequences of an image as it circulates. When we post something to our social media accounts they’re  no longer ours, they can be reposted and reworked thousands of times and the message we set out to send has now been revised half a dozen times. Think about the most popular memes out there right now and how many captions they can host or how many variations of that same meme you’ve come across in your scrolling. For example this picture has been apart of so many memes,

nick-young-confused-face-300x25665c f2d

Those are just two examples of how that one picture has been used. The two captions are totally unrelated but the picture still applies. When memes like this get changed and circulate they’re breathed new life. In memes like this its mostly for humor. However sometimes like Gries points out on page 342 sometimes images meant to be powerful and leave a lasting impression, like the obama hope poster, get remixed into context far outside their intent. Like the Obamicons which mock or make spoofs of the original content there is no limit to what people can do with something they find online, apps like twitter or instagram clearly state in their privacy policy that once you post it they can do what they want with it.

With the political scene heating up the memes surrounding the candidates are circulating more and more, some hilarious, some a little crude but all making jokes on the candidates campaign. Donald Trump in particular is a popular meme character, with thousands of variations of his face appearing all over social media.




Response 8- Museum of the Moving Image

On Thursday Fola, Pam and I went on an adventure to the Museum of the Moving Image. Previously I had no idea there was a museum dedicated to Media in this way and the Cat exhibit was absolutely hilarious to me. My favorite portion of it had to be where you can suggest emotions or reactions for the cats in the videos, having seen all of them before they’re still hilarious. Though it may seem ridiculous to some, anyone who has an Instagram or Facebook knows that these memes provide a much needed laugh sometimes. I thought it was really interesting to see the statistics of how far and how big an audience these memes have gotten, they’re the most popular thing out there right now.

IMG_1436 IMG_1438 momi_lolcat-2 momi_lolcat

The other cool thing I loved about the Museum was the throwback toys in the Behind the Scenes exhibit. I remember my parents talking about some of those things and evening seeing them when we cleaned out my grandparents house. Its really cool how media and entertainment has progressed over the years.