Internet culture in the news
From Sad Keanu to Lame Puncoon, internet memes have overtaken the internet. These pictures, and their often hilarious, sometime nonsensical, captions have swept across the web, spawning an army of websites dedicated to gathering and disseminating these memes (if you’re curious, check out http://www.memebase.com). This latest internet trend has not gone unnoticed by the researchers of the world. According to an article in London’s Independent, academia recognized Internet memes as a valid field of study when Master’s student Kate Miltner submitted her dissertation on the audience behaviour of LOLcat users. I feel this article is important because it acknowledges internet memes, often dismissed as asinine and irrational, as a legitimate source of culture. Although the authors of the article still appear doubtful to the legitimacy of Miltner’s field of study, I believe that memes provide a great deal of insight into the attitudes and beliefs of internet users. In addition, they are a powerful example of collective creativity and culture building, where meaning is created and changed through every new version of a meme. While taking a look at this article, keep an eye open for the author’s biases. What does this tell us about how internet memes, and the people who research them, are viewed?