Memes improve digital communication

11.3.2012

Don’t worry, I’m not going to link you to 4chan and lock the door behind you, there’s still some decency left in me. Yes, practically every single meme has originated from the notorious image board, but my point here is not to ponder over the obscenities, but rather to cherry-pick the best and think about how they improve digital communications. And yes, I’m serious (well to a certain extent at least).

“A meme is an idea, behavior or style that spreads from person to person within a culture” says Wikipedia. The power of memes is that most web-dwellers have encountered the popular ones countless times, so the meaning is usually at once understood. And when there is no need to explain the used meme, the indications, antics and ironies are defined by the context, ie. the post the meme answers to. Amateurs can spam sites with random memes and cause nothing but ill-mannered, static noise. But the pros can make laughing-stock out of a serious news article with a one well-chosen meme.

The most popular memes are a regular sight in any given message board, but the best ones can go as far as breaking the shackles of digital. The facepalm meme is even used in spoken language, so how could it not improve digital communication if it has already spread beyond it? Plus I bet that the world would be a little sadder place without Luc Picard in disbelief.

I know that many of you hate Internet memes because they ruin forum conversations, and god forbid, ridicule your superior online arguments. I don’t blame you, but let’s look past the filth and play with different scenarios where a meme improves digital communication.

Some digital douche: Star Wars: Phantom Menace is better than any of the originals
You A: Eh, you do realize that what you stated is completely against all settled science?
You B: Go meme!

Some digital tabloid headline: Olympic archery tragedy, gold medalist takes an arrow in the knee.
You A: Oh for the love of…
You B: Meme time!

My dear reader: Reading this blog post was a complete waste of time!
You A: Damn!
You B:  You know it!

Quod erat demonstrandum.

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