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Can we Discuss Memes?
Three episodes of Golmej have tackled three serious topics: India-China Conflict, Online Schooling, and Recreational drugs. The discussions have been lively, meaningful and the objective of Golmej as a platform is being revealed and enhanced every episode. However, a discussion cannot be limited to serious topics with strenuous data and tasking observations. The objective of Golmej is to discuss issues that affect us as a society and that includes non-serious topics as well, Memes for example.
Considering the area of Memes as a topic of discussion, some basic research revealed that there exists a Meme economy where individuals create and sell Memes for money. Used extensively in marketing and advertisements, Memes are a serious business and that was zeroed in as the topic for November, “Memes: A serious business ?”
The advent of smartphones and spread of social media has exposed the vast majority of people to the concept of Memes. Right from the pronunciations (maymay, mimi, meem,) to definitions, people are divided on the topic in their interpretations. To bring everyone on the same page, the presenter did a fabulous job. Covering the etymology of the word meme, (it was coined by a biologist !!) to its evolution to the present day smartphone forwards, the stage was set for an enlightening discussion.
Technically speaking, memes are a form of expression that combine wit, humour, art, sarcasm, messaging and strike a chord with the audience. Born out an idea, a meme goes through the phases of retention, copying and transmission thus becoming a fad. This is where we call it a viral meme. The intensity of the meme becoming popular depends on the relativity of the meme, content of the meme, medium of transmission eventually becoming a global culture. If we thought memes were just forwards, now is the time we began to be proven wrong. There is more !
Advertising is one of the most creative and demanding fields where everything was due yesterday. Capturing the user’s attention and converting it into a purchase/sale is heavily tasking and only those who are in the field know of it. Interestingly we had the presenter and one of the participants from this area of work and they shared interesting insights of how consumer behaviour is studied and worked on. Memes carry a strong backing of psychology. That is one of the reasons why Memes makers earn between Rs. 1000-50000 per meme in India.
A mode of communication that goes viral, is widely used by people from all walks of life, has a vast range of applications, and can influence public opinion, has more ramifications than what meets the eye. The discussion that ensued covered the impact of memes. The part of meme economy aside, the very fact that people communicate in memes on social media tells a story of today’s times. There are examples memes used for jokes, dark humour, sarcasm, specialised areas (eg. Medical Memes, Political Memes, Engineering Memes, Banking Memes). Memes are instruments of messaging.
Memes come with their share of challenges. One man’s freedom of expression can be construed as another’s hurting of sentiments. This thin line of what is acceptable and what isn’t is crossed many times leading to unfortunate incidents. This is where creating and sharing memes responsibly becomes important. Sometimes what we take as a fun and ignorable meme can be taken in exactly the opposite way by another person. One of the participants admitted to being scared to create a meme because someone may misinterpret it leading to problems. This is where the “serious” in the discussion hit the mark.
A simple area of Memes became a topic named Memes: A serious business? While we explored the business side of memes, we discovered the impact of it on people. And that led to uncovering many layers to this seemingly ‘light’ topic.
This is the crux of Golmej, when we discuss on the platform of Golmej, we explore the topic holistically. The discussion may conclude in an area which we did not imagine at the beginning. That is why,
Let us discuss where we are. As we move to the last month of the year 2020, we will discuss how far have come at the end of 2020.
2020 was the year when Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam had envisioned an empowered nation. His vision was with certain parameters of development.
In December 2020, we will discuss on “India in living up to Dr. Kalam’s Vision 2020”