Everyone on social media or the internet has come across memes ranging from funny to extremely funny. Such is the nature of memes, they are sure to convey a message with humor as their theme. An insipid form of entertainment, sometimes they are overused as well. You can find memes everywhere, whether it’s Tumblr, iFunny, Facebook, Instagram, or any other social media platform.
Still maintaining classic relatability, memes have evolved into a form of self-expression and criticism over the years. They play an extremely crucial role in society to unite people of different groups together and also increase exposure to all kinds of issues. All this with the help of humor in an easy-to-spread format!
The main consumers of memes are teens, who go through depression the most. The level of their stress is on the rise. Thankfully, the relatable memes have helped them a lot in this regard and talking about depression is less of a worrisome thing now. Seeing a relatable meme on depression, they now think “lol, me too”. This is a drastic change that was brought in the early 2000s. As a result, college-aged groups feel that the stigma behind depression has reduced to some extent. The modern dark humor behind memes is helping them to express themselves more freely. Their struggle is no longer personal as their friends also understand this and show them they care by sharing hilarious memes with them.
Criticism of society, corporations and political figures also spread a message rapidly. There are some memes that spread like wildfire and burst in popularity in less than 24 hours. They spread information easily as well as at a fast rate. With a press of just a single button, you can show a meme to hundreds of people, and they can also share it with more and more people. That’s how a meme becomes viral. They also create a sense of inter-community.
Northwestern University in the US state of Illinois introduced Meme Studies in 2011 that was an actual academic course on memes. It focuses on how the internet impacts our society with regard to shaping language, culture, and even beliefs.
At a fundamental level, memes serve the purpose of expression of people’s opinions and emotions. Memes are formed by selecting suitable plots or lines from TV shows or movies and are remixed with other content. Thus, they impart a new meaning in a funny and relatable manner. Their content ranges from complaints by a college student about the hardships to embarrassing moments felt during a person’s daily life. It reflects something that everyone is able to sympathise with.
Simple, concise and explicit in their messages, memes are a reflection of the thought process of the mentality of modern society, which looks forward to entertainment. They reach a vast audience within a few minutes, which means that they can be easily used as a propaganda tool that can cement beliefs as well. There is a great rise of memes in our daily online vocabulary, and the way we communicate, especially with our friends, has changed a lot. We have become more open with each other as memes unite us to a great extent.