I do not feel that I am missing anyone when I say that memes have affected everyone that accesses the Internet. I will even go as far to say that even if you do not use the Internet frequently, i.e. grandparents or someone living under a rock, that there is a strong possibility that someone has showed you a meme. First of all, most of the time they are hilarious. I cannot tell you how many times I have found a meme with a pug on it and honestly, whatever the creator puts for the text does not matter (as a pug owner, it is almost impossible to not smile when you see their cute, smooshed in faces). Second of all, they are used in a way that traditional media cannot touch.
“The Language of Internet Memes” shines light on what a meme is and how they are used. A meme is now a part of our culture. There are used as a way to communicate feelings and emotions that could be misconstrued with just text. You place words on a picture of a grumpy cat and you have now created a way to give that cat a voice. Now it is also an ironic sense of communication since that cat’s grumpy scowl is just how he looks and not really a reflection of how he feels. However, the chapter talks about how a meme is more than just a picture with words on it or an emoticon signifying a joke. A meme cannot be described without introducing culture in general. The culture that we are currently all a part of is the speed of transmission and the way that images, phrases, and videos can be replicated and redistributed. A meme cannot be accurately described just with text on a page, examples must be shown and the greater picture of what a meme stands for and the uses of it must be communicated. Even then, a meme can take on so many different faces and how a meme is interpreted depends on the individual. This is why these have become so popular in the last year.
Patrick Davison says in this chapter that he proposes three components that a meme can be separated into and all of these components are necessary for the success of the meme as it was intended. Quoting from the chapter, “As long as one of the three components is passed on, the meme is replicating, even if mutating and adapting,” this quote just reminds me of the collaborative intelligence that we have been discussing all week. One person can take an image and reproduce that same image with different words over it or manipulate the image with software to change the overall meaning conveyed to the audience. To me, the biggest concept I pull from these concepts is that we all have a different way of thinking and our brains all work different ways. Therefore whatever someone else creates can jump in our minds differently and then the ultimate outcome will be how we interpret it and what we decide to do with that interpretation.
I realize that most people recreate memes for entertainment or as mediums to strike up conversations about controversial issues. The exact definition of a meme may never be “technically” defined since we all view them differently, but I want to leave you with a question.
What do you define a meme as?
Do you have clear and concise arguments to back your definition up?
As for me, I feel that Patrick Davison’s chapter spoke to me. His concepts and ideals over “what” a meme can be defined of in short makes complete sense to me. A gene is inherited and a meme is interpreted.
Collaborative intelligence requires individuals to come together and share ideas and information just like a meme requires individuals to replicate and adapt to changes made.
Check out http://knowyourmeme.com this website is updated so frequently and you can look through trending images and videos that are considered “memes”. Enjoy!