Learning about Memes

What is a ‘meme’?

I asked my friends what was a “Me- Me,” they looked at me confused. I continued to explain the New New Media course to them. My one friend broke out laughing, she said you mean “Meem.” Therefore my first experience with memes was that I was pronouncing them wrong. Turns out memes are essentially a picture/poster producing information in many areas. “As Richard Dawkins, in his 1974 book The Selfish Gene, took a different tack, shortening the Greek term “mietes” (imitator) to coin “meme” as a cultural analogue to the biological gene: “self-replicating unit of information.” (Rintel, 2014). At the end of the quote it says “self-replicating unit of information,” this is because memes are easily disturbed over the World Wide Web. The impact of information produced from a meme can summarize a large article just by using one word or sentence with an image. Therefore you will find that you are sent memes more frequently that large literature attachments from a wide range of your network of people. Memes can be used for informing the public or for pure entertainment for the public. All in all there is always something to learn from a meme. Memes do not require a large amount of knowledge to understand them. “All memes (offline and on) are capable of existing in layers (Davison, 2012 ,p.127).” As Kendzior teaches us that we must hold importance of who is creating and spreading the meme. For in most situations you should be reading between the lines before believing the meme in certain areas. Areas for pure entertainment are ones that one does not require to dive into the meaning behind, for it is mainly just for laughs.

In “The Power of the Meme”, Sarah Kendzior writes: “ Memes create the illusion of participation in a political system from which people feel increasingly alienated, a system run on wealth that is incomprehensible to a normal person.” In your own words explain what Kendzior means. Kendzior opens our eyes that yes “memes” are powerful but what might be more powerful is who is behind the “meme.” Kendzior says, “Memes tell us more about the people creating and spreading them than they do about the topics they address.” Similar to bias’s in the news it is important to know who and why they are being produced. Memes are quick to the point although it is due straightforwardness of a meme that we might not take the time to read between the lines.

Do you agree/disagree with the author’s argument? Explain why.

I see Sarah’s point of view although I feel she generalizes the population in her views. I see Sarah’s point of view although I feel she generalizes the population in her views. I feel that she generalizes her demographic as the world in a whole. She states that, “23 per cent of Missourians who lack regular internet access, who live outside the meme.” Due to the fact that the “use of a library computer, the only source of internet access for a significant part of the Saint Louis population.” Kendzior states that for one to interpret a meme they require; access to the internet, knowledge of technology and hold political literacy. I feel that the population could lack political literacy and still understand majority of political memes. Therefore I disagree that one requires all three requirements.

Why should we care about memes? In other words, what is the cultural value of a meme?

Memes are an excellent source of information. For example I am planning on making a meme of a edentulous person smiling, and having the text read “Only brush the ones you wish to keep.” Being in the dental profession this is a quick reminder that if you do not use your brushing, flossing and rinsing techniques you will lose your teeth. Memes produce facts quickly with the use of text and images. I feel that memes in the medical dental profession could be the most effective way to educate patients.

I feel that Sarah Kendzior’s thought about political memes will hold a bias. We should investigate who is creating and spreading before believing them fully. Although I feel that is due to the fact that we are dealing with “political” memes, and “political literature” should always be investigated before believing them. I feel that if the government of Canada were to produce a meme on sexual transmitted diseases this meme would not need to be investigated. For the source and the fact that is on health protection that our interests are being held at the most importance.

Davison, Patrick. “The Language of Internet Memes.” The Social Media Reader. Ed. Michael Mandiberg. New York & London: New York University, 2012. 120-134. https://lms.brocku.ca/access/content/group/COMM-FILM-PCUL2F00D01SP2014MAIN/W4%20Davison.pdf
Kendzior, Sarah. The Power of the Meme. Aljazeera. 30 Oct. 2012.http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2012/10/2012102914110457228.html
Rintel, Sean. “Explainer: What are memes?” The Conversation. 13 Jan. 2014. http://theconversation.com/explainer-what-are-memes-20789


What are some of the ways in which your everyday digital practices having you participating, willingly or not?

I actively participate in online searches for just about everything. What did we do without technology? My parents get into arguments all the time and since “google” someone is deemed correct. How did people live before without instant communication? When I catch a “breaking news” on tv I instantly search it on the web. These days we have access to soooooo  much data, I wonder if all the data is completely appericated?

How have your participatory practices evolved over time?

As a generation X student I thought I was “in the know” of technology. Technology advances at an alarming rate. Unless you are focused on the rapid changes, one can easily be lost. I am lost but working toward finding my “in the know” again.

How can we think critically about participation in relation to our contemporary digital environment that eschews technological determinism?

If one does not participate, one will be MIA (Missing in action).  You must keep up with the times or else you will be obsolete.

In other words, what are the affordances and constraints of a participatory culture?

Those that practices and are open to change will be the most successful over time. My father refuses to learn about computers therefore struggles with the internet. He is retired but even if you do not require technology for work purposes then you are missing out on what you do not know.