Memes: A Generation Z’s Phenomenon
The first-ever meme was created in 1976 by Richard Dawkins, an evolutionary biologist. Memes have in fact gone through their own evolution over the past years, changing constantly, with the more unique memes inheriting massive amounts of fame. The word meme comes from the Greek word “mimeme” which means “something imitated”. Nowadays, the word is used to describe a thought, manner, or part of a culture that remains relevant to future generations. It can also be thought of as the standard unit of replication for cultural evolution. They can be shared by word of mouth, or easily shared online; appearing all over the internet and in social media apps and websites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more.
Memes cater to many types of people all over the world, varying in a multitude of different categories and interests. They have been used for a multitude of reasons, one of the largest uses being for building platforms for connection. Larger corporations and governments have utilized memes as a source of advertisement, propaganda, and to move their groups’ goals in order to achieve the desired outcome. Some major corporations have even used them for advertisement on social media. People have also used memes to rally support for certain people or political groups.
Memes nowadays have a huge impact on the world we live in, especially impacting Generation Z (those born in the years 1995-2015). Generation Z is at the center of current, world events and becoming bigger roles in their communities. Generation Z continues to make a large impact in the world, with some Gen Zers using memes to express both their political and non-political beliefs and opinions. Gen Zers are also the primary test runners in the midst of the evolution and growth of technology. For instance, the many types of slang, and phrasing teens and young adults use may not make sense to older generations who are not aware of the latest GenZ social media lingo. Older generations are mostly illiterate in memes as a result of the lack of understanding here. Gen Zers also utilize memes to vent their emotions and frustrations; building a platform where people feel connected and understood. People can go to social media and see a meme that they can relate to; the meme becoming a sort of coping mechanism that brightens the person’s day. The current events of the coronavirus have added to the impact that memes have on Generation Z, with many teens and young adults turning to social media in these dire times. Gen Zers specifically have used social media and memes in creative ways to connect with others. Some teens have used technology in hopes of bringing people together, holding online events, and FaceTiming friends in these isolating times.
Research Coordinator - Jezreel Gaad
Editor - Ariana Kavoossi
Illustrator - Lily Tan (Instagramfirstname.lastname@example.org)