Who doesn’t like a good meme? A meme is a form of remix culture (see previous post) and it rebels against mainstream media by spreading through citizen media. A meme is a type of popular culture expression.
Some examples of memes that I have come across are usually humorous because they take an original image that was not meant to be funny and slightly alter it to something that can be understood by the culture as a remix into something humorous. Check out some examples below:
Notice how these examples all involve an original image and they are remixed only with a caption added to them but suddenly the image has a completely new meaning?
Memes can also be in the form of videos, also usually humorous. One I personally enjoy is Ultimate Dog Tease where a human does a voice over to a dog’s mouth movements. I also enjoy LOL MEME gifs a remix that shows mini clips of scenes and change the background music to create a different experience. Know Your Meme is a great website to check out, it is filled with current and reoccurring memes.
My question is who makes money off of these memes? The answer is usually no one. It seems to me that copyright often neglects the underdogs. As citizens, we get a laugh out of these memes, but there is more to it than just that. If the meme is free for us to view, change, edit, and distribute than most likely the original owner to the image is not making money off of it. In my opinion it is almost like memes are often forced “copygifts” as McKenzie Wark would refer to it. In result of a lack of copyright, citizens are allowed to take someone’s original image and change it and make it their own. On one hand this is great because it allows citizen media and remix culture to prosper, but on the other hand wouldn’t you want some credit for your work?
In The Meme Machine Susan Blackmore talks about how memes work and expresses that they are destined to be spread throughout the public (14). Memes are created as a form of citizen media and remix culture, they are not created for an individual’s pleasure but for a culture to share and disperse amounts each other.
Many people think of memes as jokes, but there is much more to it than that, they are cultural representations of being apart of an online public sphere that allows citizens to participate in media and feel a sense of empowerment in a world where mainstream media dominates.
Arrivederci from another participating citizen of media,