Putting the me in memes: Students share experiences with memes

Jasper Green, The Rubicon Editor

Iya Abdulkarim
Peer helpers posted this sign in one of the school hallways, advertising the Relaxation Room for students during exams week, using the popular meme concept of Evil Kermit. “I think it’s helpful to add a visual to a joke because it elevates it and makes it funnier,” junior Belle Smith said.

Memes are a form of interaction where people spread cultural ideas with each other. When one thinks of memes, they think of the recognizable and memorable pictures on the internet. However, the umbrella term ‘meme’ actually includes any form of social spreading or the exchange of ideas, behaviors, and symbols. For example, a meme can take the form of the feeling of a famous song like In the Arms of the Angel, by Sarah McLachlan, or it could be a political affiliation that is transferred from parent to child.

The more mainstream form of memes, pictures with text, are often humorous. The best ones stick with the viewer like a virus.

“I think it’s helpful to add a visual to a joke because it elevates it and makes it funnier,” junior Belle Smith said.

Memes infect the minds of internet users and are spread rapidly throughout different forms of media. Whether in a group chat with friends or on websites such as Reddit or ifunny, memes spark a feeling of connection because everyone can laugh together about the memes they appreciate.

“Memes in group chats are great, they always brighten the mood,” senior Tommy Dicke said, “especially Joe Biden memes.”

There are also accounts dedicated to memes that some students follow on social media apps like Instagram and Twitter. Between the two platforms, there exist various popular meme accounts with up to ten million followers, many of which are followed by students.

“Memes are great to share with friends and to have a fun time,” 9th grader Eddie Krasny said.

“Besides that I mostly look at memes on Instagram from the different meme accounts I follow,” he added.

Memes in group chats are great, they always brighten the mood.

— senior Tommy Dicke

“Memes can be used just like any other form of expression to convey a wide array of opinions,” sophomore Olivia McCauley said.

“Just like any other form of communication, they can be used productively and counterproductively in our society.”

Although memes are funny, some students do not find them very interesting or worthwhile.

“I don’t think memes are very important in the wider scheme of things,” McCauley said.

“I think they are more of a reflection or an indicator of views versus something that is reliable, or something could benefit society and cause social change,” she added.

Despite their ability to bring laughter to students, or any viewer for that matter, some memes are considered offensive and are based on harmful stereotypes. Social media algorithms are programmed to flush out offensive content in an effort to reduce harm, but some still exist.

This illustrates to the rapidity of the spread of memes. Once a post is up on a major meme account, chances are it’s being screenshotted, messaged, and posted moments later by other meme accounts.

The popularity and demand of memes have been on the rise since the summer of 2014, begging the question if they are another passing fad.

Considering the sheer amount of material circulating, the number of meme accounts, big and small, and the number of followers, we can say that memes are here to stay, at least for some time.

Individual memes die off:  consider Arthur fists and However, the concept will continue with every passing day as new meme-worthy photos are taken and more sassy captions created.