I want to talk about this weeks seminar because it actually somethings that I wasn’t expecting despite being part of the group leading the seminar and debates. One of the features of the presentation was ‘Make Your Meme’ in which the class were given the original image from popular memes and asked to create their own meme by giving it context. We thought this task would be relaxed and fun for the group but it actually proved that making a meme is a difficult job – especially trying to make a meme that is actually funny! This lead to the debate of ‘are memes actually funny’? Personally I don’t get memes at all, but they are this huge internet phenomenon and places like Facebook and Tumblr are flooded with them.
So what is the attraction? An answer we came up with is that it is very much to do with, firstly the structure, and secondly the context of the meme. By structure, we mean the elements that make up the meme such as repetition and lyricality. In truth it all comes down to semiotics, as is the same for all media products, and looking at the signs and symbol that are used to construct a meme that make them so appealing to this generation. On the other there is the context in which the meme is used. A lot of popular memes work because they are relatable such as being about student life. Sometimes they only work within a friendship group and their situation but to show it to someone outside of that clique, they wouldn’t get it or understand why it is ‘funny’.
Another thing that came up in seminar debate was a discussion about whether it is the words and text that are important to a meme working, or the image. To be honest, I think it is the text that is most important but the image gives it a relatable visual so that people understand the context in which the text is being stated. Memes are very much an internet sensation and we discovered today that they really aren’t that funny when you show them to a group of people publicly yet when scrolling though our online feed we would have an “LOL” moment.