To Meme or Not To Meme, That is the Question.
We’ve all had the conversation about millennials having short patiences because of the fast pace of the internet. With articles getting shorter and shorter, “tl;dr” taking over newsfeeds, videos that have to be under one and a half minutes to be viewed, and so much content that it’s nearly impossible to know what to click, it almost seems fitting that our ability to fully take in and process the consequences or effects of our actions on social media is zero to none. Whether we’re talking about slactivism, sharing memes, or news that is really just lists, the future of media is going to be very impactful, and not necessarily in a positive way.
The development and sharing of memes cross the internet allows the original content to be forgot and the impact on the person or cause they are about to be omitted from our thoughts as users and viewers. Essentially, the rapidness and viral-ness of memes dehumanizes those involved and removes the intensity of the original situation. For example, as mentioned in class, Harambe memes mitigate the actual tension that circled about parenting and zoo existence and policy, while the “cash me outside” girl memes ignore her potential mental illness and in fact have created such conversation that she will be back on Dr. Phil, meaning this will almost inevitably happen again.
After really reflecting on the fact that, essentially, humour and superficialness are affecting individuals and causes around the world, we know the line has to be drawn. But where do we draw it? Well, looking for and going to the source is important. Thinking critically (hello university degree) about what these memes mean and who is being affected is almost required. And reflecting on the content for just one minute before sharing or even just laughing yourself could lead to fewer impressions. Even though this may take an extra minute of everyones time, aren’t the wellbeing, community, and ultimate positivity of the actions worth it?
Ultimately, the line has to be drawn by the creators and the users. Because memes exist in a culture where users are creators and creators are users, creators simply have to take a minute to look, think and reflect before taking that next step and users have to be able to call others out on inappropriate meme usage. And most of the time it’s going to be 100% OK to create that meme or send it to a friend, it’s just allows us the ability to differentiate the harmful from the beneficial.
It is our responsibility, can we take that on? It’s for the greater good, it’s that better?