Memes are a part of everyone’s life, regardless of what form they might take. Memes slip into my daily life in a number of ways — half of my family’s communication is comprised of Bitmojis, I’m constantly tagged in different memes on Facebook and a new meme seems to take over my Twitter feed once a day. Memes play many roles in people’s lives, and the roles they take are often shaped by where they’re found. Different kinds of memes are shared in different ways on different media platforms, and it can get confusing to those who aren’t well-versed in meme culture.
Tandon senior Daniel Jiang, the founder of one of Facebook’s many meme groups, “Twenty-First Century Meme Connoisseur,” outlined each platform’s main use.
“Each platform is good for a lot of different types,” Jiang said. “Reddit for fandom memes, 4chan for reaction images, Twitter for general silliness … some like Reddit are very impersonal and basically impossible to share to individuals, while many are their most accurate portrayals of themselves on sites like Facebook, while on Instagram some will try to maintain a certain image or aesthetic.”
One memester commented on the nature of Facebook and Twitter, in particular.
“Essentially, Facebook is an archive of memes, some of which involve tweets in them but most of which have been posted by certain meme pages with smaller amounts of people creating their own memes,” CAS junior and avid meme user Matthew Ramirez said. “While you can reshare memes onto your Facebook profile, they’ll mostly get likes and a few shares, which doesn’t even matter really. On Twitter, however, there’s an inclination to post your own original content and share it with your followers to get their followers to retweet and like your tweets as well as to possibly gain new followers due to similar taste in memes.”
Ramirez said that the meme community on Twitter is more tight-knit than Facebook and gives more substance to meme culture. On Twitter, some users even keep track of the trending memes from month to month.
“In my opinion, Facebook and Twitter are where you can find the most quality relatable memes,” Ramirez said. “You can find specific Facebook pages or Twitter accounts, but these memes end up being recycled over and over again until they die and become dead memes. The most successful memes are the ones that are original content, not mass marketed by Twitter accounts like @girlposts with no clear narrative whatsoever.”
As those who use memes on a daily basis know, there’s a meme for every occasion.
“They’re better than Hallmark cards in my honest opinion,” CAS junior Ashley Gutierrez said. “Whether it allows folks in the same class to laugh at a topic they’re learning about or friends to come together for a moment to think about something they went through together, something that relates to how their friend group functions, or for those who are lucky enough to be in a relationship to have that chance to tag their significant other in something that reminds them of said partner.”
Memes are becoming an increasingly large part of the way we all communicate — and not just for millennials.
“Even my parents use memes on WhatsApp, so it’s truly a global culture,” CAS junior Akshitha Dondapati said.
Extensions like the GIF keyboard on iPhones have made it easier for users of all ages to co-opt and use memes in their day-to-day conversations. No matter where they’re found or what form they take, memes don’t seem to be going away anytime soon.
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Oct. 16 print edition. Email Jordan Reynolds at [email protected]