The Internet meme is a concept, which spreads through Internet resources from person to person, specifically via social media. Richard Dawkins first introduced the word meme in 1976, in his book “The Selfish Gene” to describe how cultural information spreads over the internet. Internet memes are considered as a subset of the general concept of meme specifying the culture and societal environment on the internet. Dawkins introduced new internet meme in the year of 2013, altered by creativity and innovations, which was significantly different from the pre-internet concepts (Wei et al. 2013). This article deals with the definition of meme, drawbacks regarding the social media marketing, low costs of memes, meme-jacking, prevalence and psychology of social media by providing information to the average customers. Often, internet memes are confused with image macros and therefore miscited.
The definition of meme:
A meme consists of a set of cultural ideas or practices of one society that is transmitted over different societies through writing, gestures, rituals, festivals or other phenomena with a theme, which is mimicked (Shifman 2013). According to Dawkins, an internet meme is the hijacked idea of the original meme that mutated and evolved into a new direction Internet meme may take a form of image, video, websites, and hyperlink or hashtag, containing just a word or a phrase with misspelling done intentionally.
Faults and drawbacks in online media:
Internet memes are the juxtaposed images, videos or hyperlinks shared virally through online media and blogs (Ferrara et al. 2013). They are generally meant to be funny with satire and an important factor in the internet humor. Due to this duality within the quotes, at times, memes are misinterpreted. The funny or sarcastic feature is not taken lightly at times as it involves many important factors like famous people, cultural society and many more. Social media marketing is among the fastest reforming areas of marketing ever seen. The process and methods used for social media marketing have undergone a very long way. However, the biggest disadvantages of online media are, visible customer feedbacks which can negatively influence other customers, increasing business and personal resources for managing and controlling the social media campaigns, negative influence by the employees and scarce knowledge to take perfect step in the long-run for optimization of the marketing process. In addition, social media is one of the biggest search engines in the world that continues to change and evolve to offer the consumer with the best possible options. The strategies should not be permanent, as there always remains a prevalence of consumer preference and consumer choices. Therefore, market trends are to be monitored. Now, these marketing strategies at times get misguided due to the negative or ambiguous behavior. The more the campaign is monitored, the more will be the adaptability of the new changes and thereby targets will be met with the targeted social media channels.
Evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins first introduced Meme in 1976, named from the Greek word minema that means imitation of something. Firstly, the meme was used to describe transmitting memories and cultural concepts of human from one dimension to many through online media. In recent times, memes are spreading from one person to another via online viral fashion, being available exclusively online. They can be of written word form, phrases to be spoken or images and videos. Now, in marketing strategies, the concept of using meme may seem difficult to create for advertising purpose. Therefore, the idea of memejacking also named as memevertising appeared. This concept contains five reasons for success in marketing tactics. Those reasons are-
- Former establishment of memes: As per the definition of memes, memes are always popular themselves. Therefore, by attaching any brand to the popular memes, the success is accelerated. As the memes are already ready, it does not need much effort to street those at its level best.
- Traffic drawing: Many of the marketing strategies try to drive traffic towards a particular website. Memes, whatever be the form of product or brand, get attached with the link and attract likes of many people within social media.
- Cultural aspect: Generally, cultural perspectives are of that type which likes to share more, associated with social media like Facebook, Twitter and so on. The meme is a better parameter for sharing.
- Designed for social media: social media is the most popular and important medium to share something and be noticed. Therefore, social media is the major tenant for memes.
- Easy to create: In marketing, content creation takes a major part. However, easy to create memes are considered as a crucial marketing strategy.
Prevalence and Psychology of social media:
There is a specific observation regarding digital technology that social media is creating additional stress to people using it. More information is available via social media that create distress and depression in human life. More possibilities of distractions are observed. Also, social pressure by disclosing personal information prevails. These social networks create adverse physical and psychological pressure due to vast use of social media. Studies say that a successful meme contains three key factors. Firstly, it is easy for copying. Secondly, multiple level appreciations for a meme are observed. Third and finally, a perfect successful meme must not be fake.
According to studies and reports, women faces and experiences higher amount of stress and depression than men. In a survey in the United States, people were asked about using social networking sites. The frequency of using different social media was asked. The response includes- use of Facebook almost 71% of users, Twitter by 18%, Instagram by 17% and Linkedin by 22% (Guadagno et al. 2013). However, all these websites show various types of memes. Most importantly, Facebook consists of many groups and pages that show different memes. Psychological studies say that memes affect both positive and negatively. Regarding positive effect, the marketing strategies or promotions are considered. Companies promote with the help of those memes, as they are easy to create. Adverse effects are the dual meanings and funny perspectives of memes (Milner 2013). Generally, social media helps for promotion of new brands through these memes. Also, memes are often created casually for fun and entertainment purpose to share in the social networking sites.
Providing information to average consumer:
Memes are the most popular form of providing information shaped in a funny structure. Memes can take many forms, such as, photos and videos that contain imitation or pranks. Video memes contain dubbing over the actual video clip with funny and other meanings related to recent popular affairs and so on. Memes are often confused with image macros. These are slightly different from general image memes as they show any familiar picture with other funny quotes tagged. Now, consumers respond to new advertising strategies. It is true that whatever looks good and attractive gets attention (Kuhn et al. 2014). Thereby, memes create different information to the target sample of people. Now there comes the idea of targeted consumer. Memes are shared over online networks and social media. However, today, more than 60% of people in the world are well accustomed to computer, telecommunication, mobiles and social networking (Weng et al. 2013). In previous years, when the social networks were not webbed across the world, the only sources of communication were Newspaper, Television, Telephone, Telegram, and Letter. Therefore, after the explosion of new media concepts like Facebook, Twitter, etc., the entire world has become small where people are exposed to meet or get connected to people (Shifman 2013). Almost all the important information is spread through these social media helping the general people in the economy.
Modification of wrong information to consumers:
Although there are discussions regarding positive factors of memes, there are some adverse effects too. The negative factor involves providing wrong or false information to the consumers through advertising with memes. The study on memes is called memetics. However, the meme has been considered as a narrow concept. People without knowledge about it may think about its importance and will doubt its concept. But, in turn, memes themselves seem to consist of their own lives (Kamath et al. 2013). Whether they have proven to be relevant or not, these memes do replicate, and they own a dynamism which is generally absent in the other social marketing ideas. As they act as living entities with survival strategies for business houses, they sometime provide wrong or false information to the people. Therefore, modification strategies for confusing memes are to be taken. Wrong or false information can create great troubles by affecting mental stress factors (Wiggins and Bowers 2015). Therefore, though memes are very much accepted as well as used or created, there remain some difficulties regarding online memes, and it will prevail and probably increase day by day, as it does not have any authenticated source.
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