If you are active on the internet at all, (who isn’t these days?) you’ve probably seen your fair share of memes. A meme can be created about pretty much any topic, and they serve as a source of enjoyment to the young and old alike. Most people can agree that memes have a pretty big influence on society as a whole–But why are memes so popular, and why do they have such a big influence?
Memes are popular because the concept of a meme is incredibly versatile. This means that anyone can get into memes–someone can make a meme about anything, especially an idea that many people of a specific audience can relate to. This will often cause a person to share it with someone that they think would enjoy it or relate to it. And this plays into a big influence that memes have on society: they help create social connections.
When memes are shared between people that find them relatable, they now can relate to one another. This gives them reason to talk to one another, and form a connection. These days, teens are more antisocial then ever because of the technology they have. But that technology can also be a tool for finding new friends.
Memes have a huge influence, especially the ones that spread fast on the internet, or “blow up” and go viral. This means that memes, if used in a certain way, can be harmful, too. They can be used to spread propaganda or an agenda-they are becoming more and more political. They can also make people more likely to become part of a clique. If someone sees a meme they don’t understand, it’s most likely because it’s target audience is a certain group of people. Not wanting to feel left out, they try to figure out what the meme means. This is how propaganda can be forced on someone without them realizing it.
Examples of memes being used to spread propaganda have been shown in the real world, too. A good example of this is Mike Bloomberg’s 2020 presidential campaign. Earlier in 2020, when his presidential campaign was in full swing, Bloomberg’s campaign came in contact with several popular Instagram meme pages. These Instagram pages, each with several million followers, were pitched the idea of posting memes that promoted Bloomberg’s campaign. With payment in return, many meme pages posted different types of memes promoting it. While in the end, Bloomberg’s campaign failed, this proves that memes can be used to spread propaganda or an agenda.
In the end, memes have a generally positive influence. They’re a good way of stopping antisocialism. But with their popularity only growing, we’ll have to be more educated and more careful about them in the future.