Meme Culture -creating a new buzz
“Due to less pollution, the solar system is visible in the sky!”
“Aap Chronology samjhiye” (English translation: Understand the chronology)
I am certain you must have run over these lines if you are in contact with any sort of web-based life. No big surprise, just by hearing these magical words we get invigorated and our lips get bent! Truly, at this point, you must have comprehended what it is all about. Yes, it’s a very famous -Meme Culture.
In recent years, memes have flooded the digital world bringing about a new jargon for the netizens. There was a time when the meme was an obscure picture justifiable to some specific people, yet now it has risen as a compelling internet communication tool.
Simple but effective visual means for interpretation having whimsical and funny portrayal is what summarizes memes. Anything can become a meme be it some statement by any person or picture shared.
The younger generation or popularly called millennials are more inclined towards this trend. Besides, there is a different set of meme categorized for different demography.
Before we dive into this topic an extremely basic and fast inquiry “Raasode me kaun tha?” ( Eng translation: Who was in the kitchen?)
So how this lexicon evolved?
The term ‘meme’ was introduced by a biologist Richard Dawkins in his book ‘The Selfish Gene’. This theory explains how cultural information evolves and transmits from one individual to other, only the strongest one survives just like a gene. As the gene is passed on to others, similarly, memes replicate and are imitated by the other.
Though cultural meme and internet meme is different, the basic concept is uniform. Gene and meme have the same function, we imitate because we want to belong to a certain section.
We often get confused that memes are a mere visual piece of media that goes from one to another in the digital platform. However, it’s an umbrella term that comprises words, songs, videos and pictures.
Dawkins put any thought, catchy phrases, fashion and craft of making pots under meme, while researchers named it — any catchy jingle, phrase and behaviour as a meme. So, it is sometimes difficult to decide what things must be put under the caption of the meme.
In this way, the meaning of meme varies from person to profession, though it came into the limelight among youth from the past few years. However, memetics says that memes exist from the time when human beings started to live on the planet.
Remember Binod? Out of the blue, he ruled the internet and transformed into a celebrity, everybody had a hearty laugh and was curious to know about him. Yes, even you can likewise turn into a meme so be careful next time you share or do anything on media!
The powerful medium of communication
No doubt, it has evolved as a powerful medium of communication by robustly positioning itself in everyone’s mind. Now and then, it plays the role of a perfect vehicle for information dissemination more comically and mockingly.
Moreover, a colossal amount of news, be it governmental issues, social and current issues we assemble from the meme. People are bound to watch the news or new series after encountering memes related to that to make it clear. Indeed, even I watched Money Heist since my friends were richly bombarding memes linked with that😃
Don’t we get excited after seeing a meme of the series or movies we have watched recently?
To understand the meme, one must know the outside world, apart from the internet stuff. Wisdom and intellectualism are needed to decipher some of the facts. It’s a win-win situation where you laugh and at the same time get to know global affairs.
Emerging as a marketing tool
The best part of this pop culture is, you can earn cash, all you have to do is just be creative, have a presence of mind and stay updated. Since web-based life is loaded with an eye-catchy meme, the less impressive goes into oblivion within a couple of moments.
Any individual can make a page on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, by sharing a catchy meme, and end up popularizing with organic growth. The potential person/company will reach out to them seeking favour to create a meme for their account or brand/product.
Memers can earn through promotional ads and videos on their pages, even big business tycoons have turned their head towards meme culture. Brands use meme as an effective marketing tool. Mobile phones, cold drinks and other big companies invest time and money as they know memes get positioned in the mind of the audience easily.
Brands are searching for content writers and agencies that can turn these memes into powerful advertising for them. Big campaigns are launched for OTT platforms and even poster ads are shifting towards viral meme.
Nothing is better than a humorous advertisement for the product!
The demand for the meme is at its peak during product launches, festivals and cricket/ football leagues. Political memes at the time of elections work wonders for the PR team of the political parties.
There are numerous apps where memes can be created effortlessly. Interestingly, Memechat lets you make/share meme and you can earn money through your creativity. LARF is one of the apps which can make you laugh your head off. This app has got various meme based on a different theme. Spreading its branches all over, memes have turned out to be very popular now and will remain in upcoming years.
The Meme in the time of Corona
Both corona and meme spreads like a virus and dies without a host!
People saw the year 2020 as a nightmare and try every possible way to divert their attention. They unleashed their hidden hobby of cooking, writing, gardening, painting and many more. Stuck at home with mobile and internet in hand, making and sharing meme made this pandemic bearable.
Public participation and two-way interaction have made these things additionally appealing, people can come up with their opinions. Through hashtag culture, we have the power to make anything trending.
Even the serious situation of wearing a mask all the time was injected into the mind of people through memes. We feel relatable and happy to see that others are also going through the same issues throughout their life. This gives a collective experience approach, for example, all the students sharing online classes pain. Pulling generation together with the common term is a drop in the ocean to bring them on the same page.
Amidst, this pandemic there was a festival of massive circulation of Bollywood memes. The epic dialogues of Sooryavansham and Hera Pheri ruled the internet. When Doordarshan surprised us with nostalgic and popular mythological serials, memers leave no stone unturned to make us laugh our lungs out through their jokes.
During the first wave of coronavirus, the meme was focused on hot button issues of precautions, social distancing, quarantine, mask and hand sanitisers. Gradually, it shifted to the light ones targeting self -quarantine and immunity booster practices, turning the panic situation into a new normal.
A gigantic amount of funny memes were circulated in social media based on COVID 19 hence, made this situation less peril. The pandemic has witnessed massive sharing of a meme in history, no matter how apocalyptic the situation is. People going haywire with grief stopped and laugh for a moment. Yes, there is no harm in smiling when things are not in our hand!
We never give a second thought, the jokes which seem funny to us can be derogatory to others! The social fabric can be harmed by distorting the truth through memes. Let’s see some side effects of this popular culture…
Negative impact on the mind
In this information age, everything is present on our fingertip. The picture is worth a thousand words! Instead of watching long news, we rely on meme sometimes, which can be sheer propaganda of a particular group. Everything comes with pros and cons so does meme, it can be both constructive and destructive as well.
- Communication effect
Since it has become so popular, social media can use it tactfully to transmit wrong information. As there is no role of gatekeeper in social media platforms anyone can share and use it to persuade the masses. Often portrayal of the derogatory meme of celebrities is an advantage of free speech. Offensive and dark memes are a matter of concern for us, just for the sake of fun, we can’t hurt others sentiments. Say for example a random image of a famous person with an unexpected expression clicked by the cameraman can connote a piece of the wrong message.
2. Political effect
The subject which individual rarely finds intriguing to discuss in the past, now because of the meme any notable political issues is easily examined. The downside of this approach is creating political propaganda among all. The images of political cartoons are preferred by the masses, but what if it’s misleading? It can be widely used to fulfill prerequisite agendas. The meme used for politics is very dangerous and chances are the real facts gets morphed while inflow. The meme of Vikash Dubey encounter was outnumbered with some real fact and some with a false narrative, creating a buzz among youth.
3. Psychological effect
The representation of less talked sensitive issues of suicide, death, depression and natural disasters in meme can have a lethal impact. These serious issues are taken lightly, mocking and making fun of these are very common. To satisfy some political agenda various jokes about the Amphan storm was created, which I came across on social media. Emerging as a flag bearer of such disturbing funny jokes, it’s demeaning to a human being.
4. Lack of empathy
The exaggerated needs for validation and acceptance had made people blind. To stand out in the crowd we hardly see, our thing of joy can be a serious issue for some. Is everything funny? Some jokes encouraging drugs intake and using babies of celebrities is not acceptable at all. Till the time it doesn’t have some dreadful consequences the ambiguity of the origin is enjoyed.
Stereotyping, body shaming and bullying are repeatedly used in an internet meme. One can consider them funny until they don’t affect the mental and social well being of others. As the coronavirus has evolved similarly the meme have replicated recently more. It is now not just an image but behaviour and lifestyle, which is extensively used in our daily discourse.
Main kya karu phir, job chodd dun? ( Eng Translation: What should I do, should I quit my job?).
No, the memers don’t have to quit their job, besides they are doing incredible work to bring a smile to someone’s face. However, it should not offend or mislead people.
Till then keep sharing a good meme to bring a good laugh! And enjoy your pawri ( party)with your loved ones.