Research Project: The Study of Memes in Modern Day Communication

I always thought 2007 was a couple of years ago, but its actually 11 years ago. 2007 was the year Steve Jobs introduced the first ever iPhone. It revolutionized the way people communicate. Remember before the smartphone era where people text with those numeric keyboard? heck, remember the laughing emoji used to be “XD”? Society accepted that standard because how limited technology was back then.

The standard of expressing our expression in modern day communication is either through emojis, GIFs or memes. With Apple’s latest Animoji and Samsung’s AR Emoji introduced to the world, there aren’t any reason to use the “XD” emoji ever again (please avoid it at all cost)

Let’s get to the best part. MEMES

Memes can be super good or its so bad that its good. I remember back in 2010 when rage comic memes were the dominant meme format. It was shared all over Facebook because everyone can relate to it’s humor. Throughout the years, memes has become a powerful tool to influence others as well as propaganda. Notice how the US Presidential Campaign 2016 were filled with memes?  Both dominant parties used memes in their Campaign to influence the young people. They act as if they understand us millennials so they could be our influencer.

Memes has evolved for the past couple of years. It got “danker” by 2015 because our intellectual minds cant stick around at the same material forever. Like emojis, we don’t like to look back when something better comes out (except emojis don’t come out every month). I can really tell that, those rage comic memes aren’t relevant in 2018 and some of you might agree to that statement.

Heres an example of the evolution:

2010 meme:

MEME 2010
Picture from:  Google

 

2018 meme:

Superb
Picture from : Reddit

I’m not sure if my sense of humor is getting lower by the day but, I personally love that evolution meme. Its so out of context and if I ever have to explain this to my grandad, its like explaining how to fly to a fish. It will never work.

My project

My main project is to study the usage of memes in modern day communication and its creative exploitation/variations by the community. New meme format will come out every month (or every week). People from the community are the ones who spice things up with different variations to make it better and funnier.  An example would be the “Menacing Patrick” memes :

Original:

PIE CHART
Picture from: Google

Variations:

Pictures from: Twitter

These “variations” depends on the person’s interests. The original meme is just an open platform for anyone to convey a specific message. That message could be out of context, or something funny that people can relate to. Different groups might have different context for that meme. Examples:

For Soccer Fans:

Screen Shot 2018-03-20 at 1.28.45 PM
Picture from: Twitter

For Historians:

stalin.jpg
Picture from: Google

These meme format usually dies when its overused and discovered by the “normies”. The term “normies” refers to someone who cant maintain the standard of that meme or discovers it when its already dead. Well, that’s how I see it. According to Know Your Meme  , “normies” refers to “a group of individual who is deemed to be boringly conventional or mainstream”. Its not an official definition and its open for any other interpretations.

Examples of “anti-normie” memes:

Pictures from: Google

Have a look at this chart to get a better idea (yes, I am aware of the dead meme references):

MMEME CHART
Picture from: Reddit

Lets not get into that topic right now.

For the next couple of weeks, I’ll be posting new content every week and start a new series of blogs called “Memes: Their Messages & Variations”

I’ll be focusing on the quality of memes and how it conveys the messages. Not all memes are good, some might be so out of context it would be super hard to explain (like that evolution meme). I’ll try my best to avoid those memes. Note that I might post an older meme format just for the sake of my personal interpretations.

The purpose of this series is to find out:

  1. Basic understanding on how to use a particular meme format
  2. How a particular meme can be a solid tool for virtual communication
  3. Marketing? Will it work or cringe?
  4. How do people react to its dark humor?
  5. Aesthetics: distorted pictures = better memes?
  6. The life cycle of a particular meme format

 

Sources:

Balfour, E & Taveira, R 2016, How Donald Trump won the 2016 meme wars , The Conversation

https://theconversation.com/how-donald-trump-won-the-2016-meme-wars-68580 

 

Normie, Know Your Memes

http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/normie

 

Muelemans, K 2015, Meme mania: Understanding memes as communication, Nchsinkspot

https://nchsinkspot.com/features/2015/12/09/meme-mania-understanding-memes-as-communication/ 

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