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The Current (Events): How memes influence today’s journalism

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The Current (Events): How memes influence today’s journalism

The way people make decisions, interact with others, and plan out their lives is being shaped by the internet everyday. One of the most significant changes the internet beings is the ability for millions of people to interact and reflect on big issues. Often, this manifests itself as discussions on Twitter, posts on Reddit, and yes, memes spread throughout.

Some news outlets have categorized memes as a malevolent force especially when it comes to politics. One Guardian article described memes as “anarchic folk propaganda”. However, memes are just another medium to spread opinions. Just as words can be propaganda, so can memes. So while memes can be used to enforce a political ideology, they are no worse than ads, speeches, or even tweets.

Many internet users see memes less as a political tool and more as a way to exchange laughs or amusement about the world. Most are still amused everytime they see the word “meme” in a news story. However, memes are simply a new form of communication. Memes have the effect not just of connecting two people through mutual amusement, they can draw attention to the absurd. In the same vein as satire, memes expose ridiculous and paradoxical aspects of society. When something strange, or even just plain stupid occurs in politics, thousands of memes will follow. Examples include: Trump’s fast food banquet, British Parliament’s overwhelming shutdown of Theresa May’s Brexit plan, and many many more.

Memes can be a positive and negative force in life. While they can be funny, they can also spread false information and propaganda. People should take the information of memes seriously, while still being able to laugh at them. Detecting fake from real is an essential tool for every internet user to develop. Making sure memes do not escape their magnifying glass will help reduce “fake news” and propaganda.

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About the Writer
Jack Benson, Editor-in-Chief

Jack Benson is the current Editor-in-Chief of The Rubicon. This is his fourth year on staff. He sees the Rubicon as an important outlet for sharing student...

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