Today, social media communication means memes going viral. Every action, word and expression has the scope of turning into a meme. It’s physically impossible to keep a record of the memes posted everyday on the internet. Currently, memes are mediums that communicate information through humor and satire. Memes are primarily targeted to promote humor as it has been used as a tool against oppression since ages. So, what is meme and how did it take centre stage in social media communication?
Concept of Memes dates back to...
The history of meme dates back to the time when emoticons were developed. Richard Dawkin’s 1976 book, “The Selfish Gene”, published the word ‘meme’ for the first time. In Dawkins' conception of the term, it is "a unit of cultural transmission". He coined the term as he was trying to figure out whether there was a measurable unit describing how ideas spread and propagated through generations. He believed that anything capable of undergoing evolution such as memes and ideas, did so through natural selection.
Nearly after 20 years, in 1998, the word meme earned a spot in an update of the tenth edition of the “Merriam- Webster Collegiate Dictionary”. And from the Dawkin’s the modern meaning of memes is derived, the idea of the replication, selection, and evolution of ideas all working themselves out in the biggest proving ground of ideas ever, the internet.
Defining Internet Meme
Patrick Davison defines internet memes as, “A piece of culture, typically a joke which gains influence through online transmission”. Meme is a cultural aspect that explains how rumors, catchphrases, melodies, or fashion trends replicate through population. Today, internet memes have become an important part of social life as it helps in opinion formation. Amongst the various roles, a major one is that it is believed to help in conveying information. Most of the time for digital natives it acts like a primary source of information too because some turn to read more of the news on the basis of the memes made on it.
Types of Memes
1. ‘Bitch please’ memes
they are classic memes, practically a mascot and not jokes attached to pictures. They are considered to be never ever dying memes.
2. ‘This era’ memes
they are trender memes that belong to this generation. These types of memes burn out of trend in about 1 month and are hardly seen again. Like memes created when a celebrity or known personality comments or acts is a way that has caught public attention.
3. ‘One-time’ memes
these are one-hit wonders memes that are amazing but happen just once and never come back.
4. ‘Good or bad’ memes
these are series memes that tend to be either made or compiled into a collection. Pages like sarcasm_only, epicfunnypage, and 9GAG post memes which might either be entirely good or bad.
5. ‘Joke is on me’ memes
these are the self- reflective memes which make fun of ourselves instead of others.
6. ‘Only for few’ memes
these are niche type memes that only a particular group of the audience enjoy or are available to a set of people only.
7. ‘Like what’ memes
these are the obscurity memes which are not understood by all in one reading or view.
Memes and mental health
According to Psychreg survey, “Depressed group found the depression related memes funnier and more relatable than those in the non-depressed group. The depressed group thought that memes could improve their mood and also were more likely to report sharing depression-related memes. They believed that these memes could improve the mood of others with depression”.
People tend to pursue the memes differently as it is influenced by how they regulate their emotions. A meme can sometimes have a bad reputation for being harmful or actively promoting mental illness and at times can have the opposite effect in people. Some psychotherapists are using memes as a part of their practice, and therapy memes are increasingly popular.
Memes creation, a career choice
According to the digital marketing industry the brands have started considering memes as a tool of promoting and grabbing eyeballs. Be it a mobile phone company or a movie they all want to reach the maximum number of people through humour. With companies heading towards social media marketing, meme has become an important feature of the same. This is considered a marketing feature as the audience is able to relate to the meme content and that is why major brands in the country and outside are depending on these memes which earlier weren’t taken seriously.
With so much seriousness in the lives of the people and the world around us memes humour is one way through which attraction can be increased. Memes provide relatability along with humor. In the coming days, hope the trend of memes creation and sharing won’t aim to laugh at one’s struggles leading to mental issues.