Attack of the Memes

By Elijah Bush.

Since the internet began, there have been many things introduced to it to make it more attractive to consumers, one of these things being memes. However, one of the controversies that has popped up because of this is whether they are beneficial to the internet or whether they are hazardous to people’s minds. I believe that they actually help us. This is through the way they are used as a peaceful protest to government. Also, the way they provide a shared identity in newer generations. In addition, they are used as a stepping stone to talk about subjects that need to be talked about.

As Americans, we have the right to protest through the First Amendment. And one of the most powerful ways that people are doing that and raising awareness about it is through memes. Take the example of the issue of getting rid of net neutrality- which is “the principle that Internet service providers should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favoring or blocking particular products or websites.” The people didn’t like this and reduced the idea to what it was, a horrible one. Another example is the protest to YouTube changing their algorithm of what gets showed to the user.  

As seen, here is one of the memes that were produced to mock the company. This points out how they are getting rid of what the consumer wants and putting up with more of what they choose, giving an unfair advantage to channels that they deem worthy of attention instead of the channels that people want to see. They should reward channels that people like instead of demoting good content.

With that, memes are also creating a shared culture between the younger generations. It gives them something that they think is funny and that they can easily share with other people. For instance, let’s look at Vine. A whole generation grew up watching these and many of these people can quote countless videos. In fact someone could go up to a group at lunch and say “Road work ahead…” and they will likely get the response “I sure hope it does.” Even in pop-culture that’s directed to a younger audience such as the movie Black Panther, it quotes the video “What Are Thoseee!!!”. This shared identity has been built by the internet and has made it a lot easier for people to find a common ground that brings them together.

In addition, internet culture is often used to talk about difficult subjects and used as a transition for conversations that need to be heard. For instance, take the string of anti-vaccination memes that took place in February this year, as displayed here. These memes were a huge contributor to the discussions on vaccinations and has led to a much better understanding of what is wrong. In addition it lightens the topic and can make it much easier to get a point across or make it easy to talk about.

 Internet culture has had a vast positive impact on the new generations. 

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