McIntosh Trail

The Social Science of Memes

Dani Gray, Staff Writer

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In 1983, when the Internet was invented, Tim Berners-Lee could not have possibly imagined the impact of his creation. It has shaped modern society, brought people together, and provided answers to any question imaginable. But all internet users know there’s one thing that has made the Internet worth it, one thing that is the true gold of modern technology. That true-gold title goes to memes, hands down with no question.

A meme, to put it simply, is an element of culture or a behavior that is shared between a group of individuals. While the concept of a meme has existed for a while, the modern meme is something those of us who use the Internet use daily. “Meme culture,” as the powers that be have dubbed it, is embraced by teens and young adults for the most part. These memes act as inside jokes that are shared between Internet users, but they are also more than jokes.

These memes, when examined carefully, can tell us a lot about our society, especially its sense of humor. We can use social science to understand the way memes can suddenly sway a person’s way of thinking. Memes are powerful because they can a complex idea and break it down into a joke that is simple, quick, and funny. No wonder they are so popular.

When memes become popular, Internet users often develop different perspectives on the topic. One meme that internet users are debating about right now is the Ugandan Knuckles meme. As it increases in popularity, some are beginning to argue that it is racist, while others say that it is simply people doing a bad African accent and it is hilarious. The debate over this meme illustrates that Internet users do not all see memes in the same way, and memes can bring new views to the table. They act as a reflection of modern mentality, and they propose discussion.

They’re also important because of the role they play in our personal lives. The world is a very serious and stressful place, and often a meme can help distract people and lighten the mood, even if it is just for a few seconds as we scroll through social media. They provide a quick laugh, and Internet users can make a personal connection to them. They provide a sort of funny-cause-it-is-true moment for a lot of us. Memes can often be relateable in some way, and that’s why people laugh.

So, these quick jokes rule the internet. As seen with political cartoons, they can start conversations about controversial issues and free speech. People can talk about their opinions on a subject and make their opinion into a meme that everyone can talk about. Do they support the idea it expresses? Do they hate it? They can talk about their thoughts on a meme and, sure enough, be able to find a group of people who think the same.

Lastly, memes have taken over the Internet because they’re easy. Memes are quick to make, to share, and to enjoy. Most people don’t want to sit and read through a complicated and wordy joke. Memes are simple, which is perfect for today’s society. Internet want to show their emotions without using many words. Memes make this is easy; we can get straight to the punchline.

The creation of a meme and how it can affect those who see it is a science. They are the perfection of internet comedy, made by the internet and for the internet.

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