What Do Memes Mean?

What do memes mean? Well they mean very different things and cover a variety of subjects anywhere from politics (like the one below) to entertainment like Netflix. But in the background, what are the purpose of memes to us as a digital culture?

Remake of ‘Salt Bae’ Meme Featuring President Trump and US-Mexico Border Wall

One author by the name of Arthur Saniotis theorizes that memes act as transmissions of cultural information. His paper, Technologies of the Mind: Neuroanthropology and Memetics, explores memes and their meaning in a field of research dubbed Memetics. The takeaway is that memes go viral for a reason and it’s that they’re naturally selected for a wide digital audience through smaller sub-audiences.

In short, memes are like the genetic code of humanity; what goes viral reflects current attitudes towards politics, world climate, sports, entertainment, sports, and retail. Salt Bae for example reflects a certain sexual attitude. He’s seen seductively salting his steaks in a series of flamboyant arm movements with a polker face expression.

That is to say that memes themselves can act as generators of culture when their structure is manipulated and altered like the one above. Salt Bae’s online infamy is used to reflect talks of a US-Mexico border wall. President Trump’s avid push towards the build is metaphorically represented with the sprinkling of cinder blocks.

So the answer to the meaning of memes is that although they can represent any subject imaginable, they’re essentially a poll. Something that is relevant to a culture is manifested through memes and they’re selection cycle.

Until next time, keep blogging!