I like the Internet a lot. I use social media every day to find shit I’m interested in and share ideas and events, I download lectures from Universities around the world, I share my photographs and digital art work on my photo blog, I search for music and film online, can easily access pretty much anything I search for, and I spend (waste?) a lot of time laughing at internet memes and confusing my boyfriend because he has no idea why I like those things so much.
A lot of people don’t get internet memes; they might just look at Pepper Spray Cop or Socially Awkward Penguin and be like “why the hell is that supposed to be funny” or “my girlfriend is a retard”. I suppose that means that those memes aren’t strong enough infiltrate the minds of all internet users; or it could be that not all internet users have the sort of brain required for easy meme pick-up; or maybe not all humans are as into the internet as I am… but memes can be fucking hilarious! I feel like my boyfriend is missing out on something a lot of the time when I go browsing the internet and then laugh heaps for ages and he’s all “what are you cackling about over there” and I’m all “OMG I JUST FOUND THIS MEME ABOUT A LITTLE GIRL WHO KNOCKS HER CARS OFF THE TABLE AND SHE LOOKS EVIL” and then he’ll be like:
http://www.legendsofhorror.org/images/dracula/dpic5a.jpg and then I’ll be like
http://s3.amazonaws.com/kym-assets/entries/icons/original/000/003/617/okayguy.jpg?1283381711 and then start looking at videos of cats sitting on turtles. Not having him in on the joke is sometimes difficult, because a familiar meme comes up with other people he’ll be polite and ask about it but still be all:
http://www.pajiba.com/assets_c/2011/08/1296118816-thumb-400×276-29354.jpg while me and whoever it is I’m doing real life meme spread with are like:
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_bEwJ5gkveeM/SDpUOYsQq-I/AAAAAAAAAMQ/saIJHOLWy34/s400/KidExcitement.jpeg with each other.
Socially Awkward Penguin:
I see the viewing of an internet meme as an acceptance that this thing is an in-joke, but a simple one (and probably quite a funny one) that is being spread around the world, so if I don’t “get in” initially (which is not often as these things are usually pretty self-explanatory), I only need to google-search the meme to put it into context. Find out how it started, who started it, where the image came from, looks at hundreds of them one after the other if I don’t have any other plans for the next hour or two… I find that process easy because I am genuinely interested in understanding memes, but you know, some people just aren’t. Which is fair enough- each to their own and whatnot- but I find the whole “meme” concept fascinating- internet and otherwise- and can’t really imagine why someone wouldn’t be intrigued by this new language we creating as internet users.
Yeah, that’s right, I said new language- and I’m not talking about abreviations, all the lols and rofls and wtfs etc. I’m talking about the visual representation of human thoughts and feelings. “Forever alone”, “rage guy”, that photo of Jackie Chan looking confused, the drawing of President Obama with an expression of approval on his face… All of these images first appeared with accompanying text to help the joke along, but over time and through constant use, the text is eliminated. The image becomes so heavy with imbedded meaning that it becomes possible to use the image by itself to get something across, generally in a forum, a text message or printed out and stuck on fridges- places where more than one person understands the language. Sometimes I think it would be pretty cool to I live in a house with other lame-o internet nerds obsessed with analyzing cultural trends, instead of my super motivated and musicially talented boyfriend and our adventurous and creative friend who just today hoped on a plane so she can trawl the sewers of Paris for a month armed with a tape recorder, a camera and inevitably some spray paint.
Meme images are a more culturally appropriate and for some people, an easier means of communication on the internet, and at this stage of the language’s evolution, I suppose it’s become almost a status thing- the person with the best use of any given meme wins the respect and admiration of the others. I personally laugh my ass off when I see clever use or reference of a meme- and invariably like the person more- as it speaks huge amounts to me about their level cultural understanding, their sense of humour, and the fact they are probably just as much of a loner as I am.
Language is itself a meme, so I suppose using internet memes as an internet language is a meta-meme…? This is an extremely successful meme we’re dealing with here if it is indeed turning into a language. And that makes me feel pretty excited. I hope you’re excited too. But even if you aren’t, just know that this shit is real- internet culture is changing people and evolving language and attitudes. People use “Fail” in reference to the internet Fail meme in everday language, even if they’re not big nerds. “Y U NO” has crept in a little too. I am constantly referencing this shit without even intending to- it won’t be long before everyone does it and we won’t remember what life is like without that little image of rage guy there to express our frustration with climate change skeptics in a our Facebook newsfeed.