‘What’s in a meme? That which we call a meme by any other name would be just as hilarious’ – William Shakespeare. OK, maybe that wasn’t quite Shakespeare, but it’s not far off. The fact is, it’s 2017 and memes are a huge part of our culture. We love memes. We love telling people how broke we are, how messed up our lives are, and ‘spilling tea’ on others in meme form. But why do we love memes? What is it about memes that makes us want to scroll Instagram until 3am? I mean, did you know that ‘meme studies’ is a thing now? Welcome to the future!
1. We Just Love an Inside Joke
Sharing a meme is a bit like sharing an inside joke. We all love a good inside joke, don’t we? It isn’t just looking at memes we love; it’s sharing them with people we know. Certain memes need good background knowledge of a certain subject to make any sense. Without that background knowledge, it makes very little sense – this is why some people may not ‘get’ memes (these people are not your friends). This is what makes memes so great – if you know, you know. To put it simply; memes make us feel like part of a more elite group of people. The people that ‘get it’.
2. Memes are User Created Content
A meme is user created content – it has to be created somewhere before it’s shared. They’re not created by just one uniformed force. They’re not made by celebs, the government, or anybody we read about in the papers (they might be occasionally, but we don’t know about it). They can be made by anyone at any time. You could even make a meme right now; your own football meme, the two kermits meme to tell people about your bad spending habits – anything you want. It’s something everybody can contribute to and share in the joke. This is what’s so great about memes. They can be regenerated, shared over and over, and everybody can have fun with them.
3. It’s a Form of Escapism
Forget going out and getting drunk (well, maybe not completely); memes are a form of escapism. Reading memes, making memes, and sharing memes lets us forget the stresses of the day and laugh along together. This is why it’s glaringly obvious that memes are here to stay!
4. Memes: The Future
So, what’s in a meme? Pretty much anything you want. You can share funny stories, a classic meme picture with a brand new quote, something sentimental – there are no rules when it comes to memes. The great thing about them is that you can be as creative, funny, obscure, the list goes on, as you like. It doesn’t even have to go viral. Making just a few people laugh and understand your inside joke is enough!
Will you make your own meme any time soon, or are you just happy sharing others? Leave your thoughts on memes and 2017 digital culture below!