Introduction to Popular Culture Studies

Know Your Meme(s)

Posted by Drake Kizer on April 3, 2017

Today’s selection covered pages 182-194 in our Spreadable Media textbook. The reading continued chapter four, or “What Constitutes Meaningful Participation?”, in seamless fashion. As I predicted, our break from the textbook was not quite as long as I would have liked it to be, but this section was not too bad because of its short length and surprisingly quality subject matter. For once, the textbook actually had a few interesting points to make, and I was definitely happy for that to be the case.

Page 187 mentioned the fact that certain videos on the Internet “act as a hub for further creative activity by a wide range of participants.” That fact has been confirmed time and time again in recent years, as certain clips or excerpts from longer works have been “mimicked, copied, mashed up, responded to, emulated, and re-created” by users across social media platforms. In the past, YouTubers would post their mash-ups in a uniform fashion that caused the reactionary pieces to pop up in the “suggested for you” section of videos on the side of YouTube’s user interface. Today, however, these remixes are not so uniform and restricted as they once were.

In today’s media environment, Twitter is by far the most popular place for users to post their self-made videos and content. Twitter’s 2:20 restriction on video length causes users to get a little bit more creative in order to fit what they want into their videos. Another difference is the fact that average users sometimes create iconic and memorable content that becomes “deeply embedded in popular memory” in very short order. It is not uncommon to scroll through Twitter and see a meme edited by Jane Doe have 120K favorites and 10K retweets, whereas before only popular YouTubers or content creators were able to generate a lot of buzz and attention. The relative ease of attaining massive fame has attracted more and more users to try their hand at creating the next big entry into “meme culture”, which in turn has actually created more quality and engaging content.


One Response to “Know Your Meme(s)”

  1. tristendenney14 said

    I completely agree with you Drake. Due to media platforms like YouTube, “further creative activity through a wide range of participants” are very popular, and this is the reason why you can find a video for just about anything anymore. Also, I really liked your Twitter example because it doesn’t take any type of fame these days to produce popular media, and I can’t tell you the amount of times I have been scrolling on Twitter and seen someone with less followers than me have a tweet with thousands of likes and retweets. Therefore, as media continues to change, individuals will continue to become more powerful through means of sharing their opinions.

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