My Thoughts on Memes


Kaitlin Lee, Staff Writer

Ah, memes. Just another little part of the strange culture of Internet dwellers. If you are like me and spend a good portion of your evenings on the Internet, then you at least know one meme, whether it’s Pikachu, Lazytown, Kermit, or some other random pop culture reference—like Vine videos, seven-second long videos that quickly deliver humorous and quotable scenes. Everyone seems to love them. But then, as I was scrolling through the meme section on Instagram, I found one pretty controversial comment that said something like this:

“Omg, I can’t believe that you people think that memes are funny. You lack the actual capacity to connect with other human beings and instead can communicate through these stupid images. I am ashamed to be a part of this generation. Have a very horrible day.”

Rudeness aside, there is a legitimate point to be discerned from this comment. Memes have seemed to replace full-on conversation, as you can often bring up a meme and use that to express thoughts or opinions or emotions. For example, instead of expressing your discomfort or worry through careful phrasing or word choice, you can send a singular picture of Spongebob Squarepants wheezing, and there’s a good chance the receiver will understand your dilemma.

When I was younger, I admit I used to think like the commenter. I saw memes as unfunny and also the end of basic human conversation. I was that jerk kid who yelled and cried in pain whenever someone dabbed. I was that snob who would ignore media trends. And if I still kept that mindset, I believe I would say that exact Instagram comment.

But, obviously and unfortunately, I’ve grown up. And as life goes on, it gets harder and harder. You have more tests, more responsibilities, and more pressure. It becomes overbearing at times. However, because of memes, which are basically inside jokes among Generation Z, you are able to connect with more people and express the absolute stress and anxiety you have with one picture more immediately, so someone else can better comprehend your tribulations. After all, one picture can say a million words.

So, I have become the “memer” I used to hate. I used to hate dabbing, now I do it unironically all of the time. I used to ignore media trends, now I spend my free afternoons watching vine compilations. When I saw that Instagram comment, I recognized I was very, very different than that commenter. But, in a way, I found myself agreeing.

Firstly, let me state clearly that memes are not bad. I love them. But, there is a time and place for them. Earlier this year, I became very good friends with this girl because she could quote vines as easily as I could. However, her knowledge of vines grew into a weapon, as she used them to cyberbully. Furthermore, when her friends cyberbullied my close acquaintance, she could only respond with a meme. This rang not only of laziness but sheer immaturity and an inability to fully comprehend that what she was doing and tolerating was wrong. Yes, memes can express a thousand emotions, but it shouldn’t be used to bully nor should it be used in serious situations. Memes are, after all, jokes. But not very refined ones with clear insight or clever commentary, and thus, shouldn’t be used to communicate feelings all of the time.

Memes, like all other forms of comedy, depend on timing. It’s an immature yet relatable and timeless way to communicate feelings to people and can work really well among friends. However, they don’t have a place in serious conversations. We as Generation Z should embrace memes, but we also have a responsibility to make sure we don’t ruin them and eventually prove that comment right.


Photo courtesy of THOUGHTCO.COM