Purpose of Meme Culture | Teen Ink

Purpose of Meme Culture

May 29, 2018
By allexus BRONZE, Los Angeles, California
allexus BRONZE, Los Angeles, California
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

As a high schooler who follows well over 15 meme accounts, I can say that I am quite familiar with what my generation calls Meme Culture.  If you did not know, memes are the pictures, videos, or phrases that are passed around on the internet. A growing amount of people use memes to communicate ideas, thoughts, and current events to their community. The memes of today are to be looked in a plural sense with hidden meanings that could range between nostalgia and propaganda. The use of memes is important to our growing society where Meme Culture brings people together as it represents the media around us.

            Many ask “what is the purpose of a meme?” Memes are usually the funny pictures you see online over and over again that could give commentary on current events or on the media itself. However, if that still is not enough for you, we can say that they are the new version of 1940s comics. Both use humor and give us hope for the future because that is what comics were mainly used for during World War II. It is still possible for certain comics and memes to inform, persuade, and to call for action in readers. Certain comics like Superman in the 1940s promoted American nationalism, values of the time, and education of current events to the readers who were then experiencing the grief of the World War. Other comics during the 40s were used to bring propaganda against the current events. Captain America also brought these issues into light. The actions of the main character show the wanting for a savior during these controversial times. Much like Captain America, Pepe the Frog brings the issues of today in a humorous way. He is a symbol usable by everyone, and people convey their message in this way to attract a younger audience. The mass production of memes shows that our generation has become so accustomed to the convenience of humor. That being said memes do not have to create a good community, but they create a community nonetheless. The use of memes on social media has a wider amount of exposure to educate and are used in aid of tragic events. It is important to look past the surface, and to view the content in all contexts.

            The growing population of the meme community makes the memes more relevant to the outside world. Whenever I see a meme, it is usually about current events or something that does not have a real purpose. However, current events are usually not addressed in my daily conversations. The more memes I see; the more I am able to learn more about events occurring in the world around me. The coverage of these issues in the memes are just skimming the surface. Memes address the issue, and give us something to explore with one another. There have been countless times where I was introduced to a controversial issue through a meme, and have been so interested in the topic that I looked it up. One instance of this case would be about Harambe, many memes discussed him, so I looked him up and eventually formed a stance on the situation. The simplicity of memes leads to the discovery and education of news topics. Memes about current events cause us to think more about the world we live in and how we can work toward change.

            Meme Culture creates a community of people who have the same humor and interests as you. Though memes can be made personal between your group of friends, they are usually amongst a large group of people online. The memes surfacing the internet could spark conversation between its viewers. The conversations make communities between the opposing sides of the situation. The two communities of people who pour cereal before milk and those who pour milk before their cereal usually converse with one another on who is correct. Relating with one another gives us a conversation topic, a reason to connect with each other and have social interaction. Many Millennials and teens from Generation Z use memes as a way to relate to one another and use the connection to gain happiness. An initial connection is all that one needs to form a friendship, and that connection could potentially be memes. On Twitter, I have seen popular childhood shows become very popular memes. Shows like Spongebob create a group of people who are able to resonate together in a nostalgic way. They have since then been able to associate themselves with the group and the meme created a community. Memes in our culture impacts one’s sense of belonging to a group which then has a positive effect on one’s relationships. The sharing of memes helps us maintain relationships within the community to spread a message.

Memes are not a bad thing. Sharing memes facilitates the bonding force created by the internet to connect its people. When we look at memes, there has to be the use of plural thinking to make them worthwhile. They show a way to unite with someone through a picture or a saying. Since memes are open to everyone with internet access, it makes them an easy way to relate with one another and form relationships. The roots of Meme Culture started with locally sharing what we thought was funny to our friends, and grew to sharing with the whole world on the internet. Meme Culture shows the positive effect of memes in communities and brings us together as one on the internet.

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