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Memes: A Love Language

By Jamie Shapiro

If you’ve used the internet in the last few years it’s likely you’ve stumbled upon a meme or two in your cyberspace travels. Merriam-Webster defines a meme as “an amusing or interesting item (such as a captioned picture or video) or genre of items that is spread widely online especially through social media.” Memes have taken over popular social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and are often created and viewed by younger generations as a form of escapism or a way to avoid stress.

Consisting of everything from the chain emails your grandmother might send you to Youtube trends like Rickrolling and the Harlem Shake and captioned photos of animals, celebrities and totally random people who happened to be caught on film at just the right (or wrong) moment; memes are shared by friends across every platform.

Danielle Sapp, a 20-year-old Santa Fe student receives several memes a day in an iMessage group chat she shares with some of her friends.

“It’s nice because I can take a few minutes off from whatever I’m doing to respond and it also shows me they’re thinking about me,” she said. “It’s nice knowing someone saw a stressed out Squidward meme and thought ‘hey, Danielle might like that.’”

Sapp isn’t alone in her use of what could be considered the new internet love language. Meme pages have popped up across all social media platforms, ranging from accounts owned by high school and college students to accounts run by media corporations like Jerry Media; a name you might recognize from the Fyre Fest ordeal, which spawned a series of memes itself.

Memes have infiltrated almost every corner of the internet and to an entire generation of people, it serves as a shared language that is used to express any number of concepts and feelings to their peers. Memes can be funny, they can be stupid, they can be real, they can be any number of things, but what they do best is they allow people to take a moment to themselves and share with the people out there who share their mutual enjoyment of the content.