THE POWER OF THE MEME TUTORIAL : What makes a great meme?
Unless you live under a rock, you have all seen the huge trend of makeup , cooking , DIY, fashion tutorials on the internet .
Well, after asking around and grasping peoples perceptions of memes, the feedback I got was limited to doge memes and lolcats which was quite disappointing. Therefore, I thought I would take matters into my own hands and create a “blog tutorial” where I walk you through the main steps to show you the power of memes and how, with social media, they choreograph users minds and actions today (Gerbaudo 2012 : 103).
Step One : Make it easy to recreate!
Let’s take for example a challenge that is trending now : the “ #mannequinchallenge” where a group of people stay immobile for a whole minute while the song “Black Beatles” by Rae Sremmurd plays in the background. From pre-school classrooms to the White House, this phenomenon is trending everywhere on the web because it is so easy to recreate. The natural pose , the chill music and the camera man walking around each mannequin requires very little video or editing skills. All you need is a phone and a sound system and you are good to go. The hashtag is the key tool that helps promote and spread these videos easily.
Step Two : Make it go viral, use it as a tool !
Whether it is using a famous song like the one used in the previous example or using it for advertisement purposes, you need to make sure that your meme is like a virus and it is contagious, that it sticks into peoples heads . The Canadian countercultural magazine Adbusters are the great example of this as they encourage their readers to make their own content and remixing images for advertisement (Meikle 2016: 54). No one wants to be a part of a movement who doesn’t attract attention. Let’s go a few years back with the “Happy” video by Pharell Williams, if you made your own version of Happy, you respected the theme of the original video , you had a pretty big chance of making it on the web (Meikle 2016 :48) . Today you can make so much money with videos and images so use this to your advantage, promote your business ! Memes are an easy but lucrative tool.
Final Step : Have a message.
Every meme out there has a purpose or a meaning. It varies from pure entertainment , humour or political and cultural messages . Memes are a powerful tools , especially towards young students like myself who spend a lot of time on social media. Unconsciously they help us form an opinion on what s going on but also allow us to express ourselves on what is happening in our society . Just take the last US elections as an example . All the memes made around the two main candidates helped me form an opinion on them when the verdict fell , funny memes made it easier to swallow the pill. As the great French saying goes, “Better laugh about it than cry about it” and that is exactly what successful memes do.