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      Volume 11 |Issue 35| September 07, 2012 |


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The Meme Mania

Naimul Karim

Memes ( L-R): FUUU, Poker Face, Troll Face, Y U NO??, Trololol, Me Gusta!

If you've been on facebook; you've seen it, commented on it and perhaps even liked it; no matter what age-group or profession you belong to, you HAVE been a part of the meme mania! The photos with crafty comments, referring to a wide-range of subjects, have gone viral in the social media. From discussions on the engaging 'Ronaldo vs Messi' rivalry in the world of football to pasting your own humorous dialogues on photos of Dhalliw-ood stars like Jalil Ananta and Shakib Khan, the world of memes, it seems, has touched upon every possible topic of discussion.

A famous meme on the internet.

To put it subtly, internet memes are pictures to which people add lighthearted captions through an online meme generator. Today majority of the posts on facebook are meme-based. While the bone or the basic structure of a meme remains the same, the expression can, however, depict several different messages. A meme based on the picture of Queen Elizabeth 11, which came out right after the inauguration of the Olympics, is a classic example.

One needs to be 'aware' of the joke in order to understand the meme-culture. The topics are usually based on current affairs. Visual artists believe that the memes' ability to repeatedly attract viewers can be attributed to the design and the phrases pasted on them. Many have compared them to short film clips based on GIF files that end up repeating themselves over and over again.

The simplicity of these memes is perhaps one of the most important factors for it to have become so popular on the internet. So much so, that several companies have actually used this new phenomenon to advertise their products online. The instant attraction is what makes them so easily digestible. It's similar to reading a joke, except that these internet memes are much easier to comprehend.

Facebook memes have also been generated based on the kind of lifestyle that people lead in different regions. Psychologists claim that it's a person's ability to relate to a particular meme that makes it a lot more interesting.

Memes such as the "What People Think I Do" series have made an attempt to describe the lives of various professionals, albeit on an extremely generic basis, and in the process has become one of the most commonly used structures. The facebook memes, which are essentially, sketches of different expressions, are often used to create meme-strips. The Poker Face meme, for instance, describes a problematic situation, the 'Y U No' meme is a sketch with an exaggerated expression that raises questions in the most emphatic manner and so on.

Usage of vibrant backgrounds to transcend messages.
In response to a television interview of Dhallywood Star MA Jalil Ananto.

The 'rage comics' is another series of memes. They are comic strips that narrate stories and almost always end with an exaggerated reaction to the outcome of the story. These memes usually depict stereotypes and also involve unique coloured backgrounds. The visual format of these strips provides viewers an easy access and allow them to get accustomed to the format of these comics.

A famous meme on the internet.

Visual analysts believe that the constant use of the same image gives memes an ingrained context; a message that can even be understood at a sub-conscious level, thereby, defying language barriers. Another reason why these cartoons are so popular is because they are constantly shared.

The gaining popularity of these cartoons depicts a change in the form of communication in the new media. As an article published on 1st webdesigner.com puts it, "Memes are the equivalent of idle chatter-- they're not supposed to be deep, or meaningful--but a simple way to express ideas and tell short stories."

While analysts still haven't discovered the perfect mantra or reasons behind these memes going viral online, they however, claim that the meme-mania is a combination of the most important elements. From bringing you the unexpected and the super-hilarious to providing you with a Rick-rolling effect, the influential power of these memes have been so strong that they are often compared to viruses! Their life-span, after all, depends on creative 'hosts'. They are also highly capable of being developed and can spread like wildfire-- the key characteristics of a computer virus.

Unfortunately, for those who consider these memes to be a complete waste of time, an anti-virus is yet to be found!


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