Memes are a symbol of the internet age and represent the humour this age has introduced. Memes consist of images, primarily, relating to pop-culture topics or issues, overlaid with a short line of text. They emerge through a process of generating, iterating and with little warning.
Most importantly, it is characteristic of memes to be created by virtually anyone. This era sees the audience taking on a powerful role; we create the content and we distribute it through participatory networks where it is further shaped through an imitative and iterative process. This luxury of content creation was initially afforded only to legacy media outlets. However, on the internet, there is no such restriction and no filtering of information, creating endless possibilities.
So, with regards to the democratic society that we live in, how are internet memes impacting on politics?
I have attempted to answer this question in the following video:
Are memes a sign of how politically engaged young people are today? Evidently, they make a topic as dry as politics easier to understand and more engaging. Why? Because memes are not based solely on intellect, this is why they are understood by a vast majority of people. In saying this, should politicians start integrating memes in their political campaigns to be more relatable to wider demographic of people?
Take a look at Clive Palmer, former politician and business man, once just a weird dude who was the brains behind the Titanic II and Palmersaurus, now a fully fledged meme man, producing memes on the daily via his FaceBook page.
The NSW Police Force have clearly observed this tactic and realised its effectiveness. Their meme generating skills are powerful, which has made them more appealing and relatable to the public, raking in close to one million likes on Facebook.
What are the implications of this collective intelligence of meme generating on activities like politics? We have seen how they have changed the public image of figureheads such as Ted Cruz, Clive Palmer and the NSW Police Force. So what could happen if politicians starting making memes of themselves as a tactic to gain popularity?
At this point we can only imagine, *sigh*.
To conclude this segment, I would like to remind my audience of how this could potentially look:
And damn……it looks good.