Why do we share memes?
Is it for their comedic value? Or is there something far deeper and more psychological behind the internet trend that refuses to die?
The science of memes
Memes can mean all things to all people. They are designed to be relatable and to evoke an emotional reaction by tapping into elements of our everyday lives.
Moreover, these low-res images, GIFs and videos are also an indicator of our personality and the kind of image we want to portray of ourselves to the outside world.
First we laugh, then we share
If our first reaction is to laugh at a meme, our second is to share it.
The point of a meme is to tap into our innermost feelings or everyday perception of the world and situations.
For this reason, the best memes play upon relatable situations in a clear, concise and immediate fashion. We share because the emotional response we feel towards certain memes is so strong that we simply have to act.
Likewise, this feeds into the culture that we are constantly online, looking for viral content to share to and finding new ways or messages to represent our own self.
The makeup of memes
The layout and makeup of a meme follow a specific structure of situation and reaction. The situation relates to the text – ‘that moment when you…’, – whereas the reaction is the visual element of the meme, a picture of a video for instance.
Memes are representative of the direction of the internet, and our preference for more visual and video content that doesn’t require too much thought or effort to consume – they are, in a sense, ahead of their time.
Meme subsets – Student Problems
Publishing around nine memes a day – 63 memes a week, 252 memes a month, and 3024 memes a year – has helped Student Problems become Europe’s largest student network.
Reach: 42,952,177, Engagements: 2,018,312, Shares: 273,000
They are experts in a very specific humour that resonates with students, be that exam stress or having an overwhelming student loan to pay off.
It’s humour from adversity. By creating content that appeases this demographic, Student Problems are able to harness virality and generate thousands of likes with every post.
Reach: 34,754,648, Video Views: 16.5 million, Engagements: 1,263,402, Shares: 115,000
Should brands utilise memes?
So, can marketers tap into the culture of memes? Yes, but try too hard to relate or resonate with the internet, and you leave yourself open to fire.
When it comes to the usage of memes, it’s essential for brands to tread carefully and seek advice from the experts to assess the tone and suitability.
What remains true is that we can learn from memes and use them as an indication to assess not only the future of millennials and Gen Z but also changing internet trends.
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