Just in case any reader doesn’t know what a “meme” (pron: mi’m) is the Oxford Dictionary describes it thus – An image, video, piece of text, etc., typically humorous in nature, that is copied and spread rapidly by Internet users, often with slight variations. In other words it’s all those words of wisdom or side-splittingly funny little cards that are all over your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
Now, before I get shot down in flames, I have to admit that like most of you I have, on occasion, shared something that made me laugh or resonated at a fairly deep level but recently I have had so many that the whole thing got me thinking. Where the hell do they come from and who can be bothered to search them out in the first place?
It kinda reminds me of the chain letters we used to get years ago that insisted you sent it on to ten other people. If you did you would have enormous good fortune and if you didn’t the ground would open up and you would be dragged kicking and screaming to the depths of hell. As far as I’m aware no greater proportion of either camp benefited or suffered any more than they would have done under normal circumstances. Somebody, somewhere must’ve composed the original and started the ball rolling…why?
The memes that really “get my goat” are the so called self-help messages. First and foremost, I actually know all my Facebook friends so when somebody posts something that is so mind cringingly trite I just stare benignly and think – really? Furthermore do these people really need the “ABC” of common sense and interestingly have they chosen their friends so badly that they need to enlighten them too? I got one the other day that ostensibly said to walk you have to put one foot in front of the other…No shit Sherlock!
Moreover, the very same missive dressed up with a Minion or Snoopy doesn’t make it any more profound unless you’re ten years old.
Then there’s the “If you have a wonderful son/daughter/wife/husband/grandparent then please share”. If you do have any of those then why not just pick up the phone or give ’em a hug? Surely we don’t need social media to fulfil our familial commitments.
The thing is I really don’t have a problem with something that is genuinely funny or clever, it’s nice to be amused and entertained. I’m also a happy punter for some authentic philosophy or quotes from the great and the good. After all we are never too old to learn something new but I’m still pondering where they actually emanate from.
I like the idea of a room filled with about eight youthful Woody Allen types. Each of them appointed a specific meme category. Much soul searching and head scratching taking place while they work out what they are going to release to the masses. They might even have a hierarchy. Woody 8 starts off on dumb lifestyle statements whilst working feverishly to be promoted to the position of Woody 4 on Dalai Lama and Mother Teresa quotes. All the while Woody 1 looks on worryingly as the young upstarts are snapping at his heels. After all everybody wants to be in charge of making the world laugh out loud.
Ah well! While my mind continues to boggle I shall check back on Facebook and see what wonders it has in store for me today. Perhaps the postings say more about the poster than the message itself? To paraphrase the genius of Alan Partridge “knowing meme, knowing you Aha!”