BY: Kim Kunaawathy
The internet is known for having a sense of humor.
There’s never a dull moment as Internet users crave entertainment and being entertained. It has a lot to do with the fact that viral content is constantly evolving. Videos and memes of embarrassing fails and unlikely animal friendships are never in short supply.
The definition of “meme” is rooted in evolutionary biology and was coined in Richard Dawkins’s popular 1976 book, The Selfish Gene. The meme, he says, is “a unit of cultural transmission or imitation”: its manifestations include the idea of God, nursery rhymes and jokes, catchphrases, and fashion patterns.
The content of memes can range from the struggles of college life, an embarrassing mistake, or painful moments such as having your ice cream fall to the ground before you’ve had a taste – something that everyone can sympathize with. (this happened to me many times)
In 2011, Meme Studies was launched at Northwestern University in the U.S. state of Illinois. This shows how much the internet has an influence on civilization, from vocabulary, to the community, and even values.
Not only has memes take over the internet, but they even took over our vocabulary. Rather than typing things out and explaining yourself, one meme has the ability to summarize how you feel. Unfortunately, this would also be a hindrance to our writing and speaking abilities.
In recent years, political memes have been a popular method for campaigning, with proponents and opponents (and even candidates themselves) using them to convey information humorously. Of course, memes aren’t new in politics. Political cartoons have been drawn for almost as long as newspapers have existed.
This makes us implicitly conscious of what’s going on in our society. For example, Hyper-partisan memes were prominent during the 2016 presidential election, and both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton use memes to try to swing votes in their favour.
Another example is when fans of political outsiders called the #YangGang, plastered his face on memes across platforms. Yang rose to fame in the 2020 presidential election thanks to memes.
There’s no doubt that memes have changed the way we communicate. Whether you believe it is for the better or worse is your personal opinion. So, as we transition into the modern era, we must ask ourselves: how will memes affect the communication landscape.