Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Session 10 - Making Meaningful Memes, Part I: Definitions and Critical Consumption

W H A T   I S   A   M E M E ?

If you have a Facebook account or have ever been on Facebook, then you have probably seen a meme.
Let's look at Wikipedia's definition of a meme here.

S O   W H A T   D O E S    T H A T    M E A N  ?

Memes provide commentary on events that are going on in contemporary culture, politics, entertainment. And cats. Lots of cats. Like this guy:

They are often meant to be funny by making a joke, pun or by pointing out the irony of a situation. The tone of a meme itself can also be ironic.

They can also be serious and raise awareness of an issue/s that the creator thinks is/are important: 

The National Resource Defense Council built this meme as a call to action to raise awareness about the budget cuts Congress will be voting on soon. They transmitted it on their facebook wall, then included a link to a petition supporting educational funding in their facebook status.  
This is a screen shot from Kristina's facebook wall.

Whether you are making a funny meme or a serious meme, one thing is for sure:
courtesy knowyourmeme.com

Boromir is right. 

Memes are created with the intention of being shared and spread through the internet and therefore should have the following: 
  • A specific message intended for a specific audience
  • Text that supports the image(s) and vice versa
It makes sense that most memes utilize the font style called "impact" - in order to make a meme that people will want to share online, you have to create one that has both visual and textual (written) impact. 


M E M E      C R I T I Q U E

So keeping that all in mind, let's take a look at some examples of memes below and
determine are they a meh meme (not much impact) or a mad meme (lots of impact)?

Consider the following to make your determination: 

1. What are you seeing in the meme? 
- Consider colors, composition, scale, font style, etc.
2. What is the message? 
- What does it mean?
- Who is the intended audience of this message?
- Does the message seem biased to you?
3. Is the meme "working"? 
- Why or why not? 
- Does it make you feel a certain way or create a certain response for you: happy, sad, hopeful, angry, laughing, disbelief, etc.
4. What would you have done differently if you were the designer?
- Would you use any of the elements of this meme in your own? 
- Are you inspired to take any sort of action as a result of this piece?

Example 1: 

Example 2: 

Example 3: 

Example 4:

Now let's take a look at the meme Ms. Kristina designed as an example of the exercise you will be doing today and go through the same critique questions:

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