Malick Ba

I Dream of Memes: Internet Culture and Influence

April 18, 2017

About a month ago, I was having a discussion with Dak about the Grammys. While none of us actually have cable, we both knew of several alternative ways to stream the event on the internet. When I had asked him if he’d tuned in to the “prestigious” (I use that term lightly…Re: Cee Lo Green) event, Dak simply said “I watched it through Instagram.” From that alone, I figured Instagram broadcasted it live, but no. What he meant was that he kept up with it through the influx of memes that had come out about it (again…Re: Cee Lo Green). That had me thinking a little bit. Is this how people keep up with events now? Live updates are nothing new, but memes have almost transcended actual text or broadcasted information.

Remember when people live tweeted events on Twitter? This is exactly what memes have become. This isn’t subject to the Grammys either. Think about it. If you’re like me and are extremely active on Instagram, you’d know that there are memes about literally every big event. NBA finals? There’s a meme for that. Grammys? There’s a meme for that. U.S election? There’s probably memes about that disaster every single day.  The point is that meme’s are apart of internet culture in ways that I never really thought of. While I still think doing research and not taking everything you see on the internet at face value is still extremely important, but memes are accessible to youth culture. Dare I say that this is one of the reasons why Twitter is becoming replaceable?

While I know people are still actively live tweeting, but just based on the number of meme accounts that exist on Instagram, there is always some sort of way to provide information in a comical way. It’s interesting to see the progression of meme culture. It works so quickly that within moments of any big event you can guarantee that someone online is in the process of making a meme about it. At the base root, it’s influencer content. If you own a popular meme account like fuckjerry or Daquan, you have the ability to post content through memes that may influence someone’s train of thought on any given subject matter. While it does seem a bit ridiculous to say that memes equal quality and truthful information through these influencers, the point still stands. People use memes to present information (comical or not).

That’s a lot of information to take in about internet content, but I really feel like memes are a prime example of alternative journalism. The culture around them for the most part is rooted in humour, but the fact that Dak was able to keep up with the Grammys without actually watching it on TV or tuning into a live stream was proof that they are important. Important in not only providing comical relief for events that may be serious, but providing information to a generation that’s not necessarily tuned into traditional media outlets.

Malick Ba is an advertising and marketing specialist currently living in Toronto, Canada. As an alumni of both the University of Ottawa and Humber College, Malick specializes in communications, advertising, and marketing. Currently, Malick works at an advertising agency in downtown Toronto and is looking forward to how he can further leave his mark upon the advertising and marketing world. Follow him on Instagram, and connect with him on LinkedIn.

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