Literature and place relationship memes

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literature and place relationship memes

The latest Tweets from Literature Memes (@LitLitMemes). Creating and sharing Literature Memes. Send us your memes! (We do not own any of this content) DM . But Dawkins was deliberate in his comparison of memes to genes. Just as genres emerge in music, literature and art, so too in internet memes. “ Relationship between the probability of retweeting a message and its similarity to the No one has any idea what makes something go viral in the first place. philosophers have run with the concept of memes, not as a universal Darwinian account—even regard to them, a large literature has arisen which argues that culture evolves in a largely . Mao's Cultural Revolution took place in China. . meanings that they do because of and within the context of their relationships with.

Additionally, the permissive nature of properly conducted focus groups can encourage individuals to disclose opinions and feelings that may not otherwise be divulged through alternative interrogatory practices [ 31 ]. Participant selection Participants were sourced through a combination of snowball sampling and recruitment on a variety of social networking and community sites: These two sampling techniques were utilized with the goal of representing the range of involvement levels within the LOLCat user population; while some LOLCat users are deeply involved with the community, others enjoy them in a more casual way.

Participants for the groups were also selected with this representational breadth in mind.

literature and place relationship memes

The participants ranged in age from 21 to 72 years; the overwhelming majority 86 percent were 30 years of age or younger. The gender balance was evenly split, with 47 percent women and 53 percent men. The aim of this study was to explore as many of the textual and social aspects of the LOLCat phenomenon as possible while allowing the study participants to openly contribute their opinions with minimal influence.

Consequently, the discussion guide was designed primarily as a topic guide that reflected the key elements of the LOLCat genre. To aid in the discussion of the more abstract textual aspects of LOLCats such as humor and anthropomorphismI elected to include stimulus in the second half of the focus groups as suggested by Gaskell [ 32 ] and Krueger [ 33 ]. Stimulus was selected in two ways.

literature and place relationship memes

Participants were invited to submit their favorite lols in advance of the groups; this allowed for an exploration of the factors that guided their selection rationale. Given that the number of participants who elected to send images varied by group, supplementary stimulus for the groups was selected from the I Can Has Cheezburger Hall of Fame.

Images were selected in order to represent the topics included in the topic guide. The majority of focus groups four of six were held in person. However, in order to include a selection of more active LOLCat users who had responded to my original posts, I held online focus groups using Google Hangouts.

The online focus groups were conducted using the same discussion guide and the same procedure as the face—to—face groups, the single difference being the absence of stimulus; the affordances of the Google Hangout platform did not allow for the organic inclusion of images into the discussion. These concerns, while valid, were largely inapplicable to the two online groups that were conducted for this study due to the platform which was used and the participants who used it.

One of its most lauded features was Hangouts, which function as advanced group chats. The uniqueness of the Google Hangout is that it emulates face—to—face F2F conversation. This is accomplished through an audio functionality that, once triggered by vocal or other audio input, switches the video feed of the speaker to the main window, directing focus to the person who is speaking. While this may have been confusing or distracting for the uninitiated, the groups who were interviewed online consisted of technically savvy early adopters, many of whom regularly used Google Hangouts in a social capacity.

Thematic analysis Qualitative analysis allows researchers to describe and explain phenomena or social worlds through the process of reviewing, synthesizing, and interpreting data [ 34 ].

Furthermore, the flexibility of thematic analysis allows for the identification of unanticipated themes and insights [ 36 ], a particular advantage for an exploratory project such as this one.

Nonetheless, as long as these potential pitfalls are kept in mind, thematic analysis can help provide valuable insight into the ways people experience their worlds [ 37 ]. The recordings made of all six focus groups were manually transcribed and analyzed based on the process outlined by Braun and Clarke In order to allow for the cultivation of unforeseen results, I took a data—driven approach that relied on the inductive development of themes Braun and Clarke, which were established by examining the transcripts for instances of recurrence, repetition, and forcefulness, as per Owen Results The results section is organized by the four main findings of the study.

The first identifies three separate groups of users that engage with LOLCats in different ways.

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During my analysis and coding of the focus group transcripts, I inductively established three user groups, into which I subsequently categorized each participant: Cheezfrenz, MemeGeeks, and Casual Users. It is worth noting that the presence and proportion of these three groups in the participant population are inevitably bound up in the selection process.

Thus, it is possible that other user categories exist that are not represented here. Nonetheless, the results provide strong evidence that these three groups represent important constituencies for LOLCats, and that the appeal of the phenomenon differs by group. The Cheezfrenz in my sample were all involved with the I Can Has Cheezburger community on some level, and some were also involved with the Cheez Town Cryer, a community site created by I Can Has Cheezburger commenters.

According to one focus group participant who attended a LOLCat convention called Cheezburger Field Day, the most ardent Cheezfrenz tend to be older women; while all of the Cheezfrenz who attended my focus groups were female, they ranged in age from 21 to Cheezfrenz comprised 11 percent of the participant sample in this study.

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However, their previous involvement consisted primarily of creating them and sharing them on content oriented platforms like 4chan and Reddit. At 63 percent, the MemeGeeks represented the largest proportion of users in the study. The majority 66 percent were males between the ages of 24 and 28, and overwhelmingly worked in the digital industry in some context. Casual Users The Casual User group made up the remaining 25 percent of the participant sample. They did not tend to create their own LOLCats, but shared and consumed pre—existing images that they received via email or saw on Facebook.

The casual users worked in a variety of industries and were evenly distributed by gender. The LOLCat genre One of the clear findings from the focus groups was that the form and structure of the LOLCat were not only distinct, but that the proper execution of the generic conventions were essential to its appeal.

Participants repeatedly referred to font, text placement, image subject, syntax, animal characterization, and intertextuality as integral to the proper execution and full enjoyment of a LOLCat. For both the Cheezfrenz and the MemeGeeks, knowledge of generic conventions was an indicator of in—group membership: This gendering of creative and consumption practices happened repeatedly throughout the groups, particularly by the MemeGeeks who used it as a mechanism to distance themselves from the other participants.

This manifests itself in two distinct ways. Incongruous humor, or the clash between expectation and experience Shifman and Blondheim, is a common format for macro humor Milner, b and this was borne out in the groups. The second way genre materialized was more subtle, with the style of the genre itself acting as an integral part of the humor.

Even if the content such as the image or joke contained within the LOLCat was humorous, participants explained that using the wrong font or diverging from stylistic expectations essentially ruined it for them.

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There is a style, here. These findings echo the literature on genre and humor in other contexts Toms, ; Kuipers, The in—jokiness of LOLCats was largely achieved through two textual features: Lolspeak and intertextual references.

One of the most recognizable features of LOLCats, Lolspeak is a dialect Lefler, characterized by its childlike tone and incorrect grammar. The following example of Lolspeak is excerpted from an e—mail message I received in response to my solicitations for focus group participants: I wud like tu b in deh focus groop, if it am alrite wif u English: However, the ways in which Lolspeak was used by the Cheezfrenz and the MemeGeeks differed, and constructed group identity and cohesion in different ways.

This use of Lolspeak was particularly clear during the focus group conducted with a cohort of coworkers whose jobs required deep understanding of the online cultural landscape. Interestingly, the activity on this page did not appear to place value on knowledge of the art when not relevant to understanding the meme. He was famous for his painting of Giacomo De Passero, an 18th century pirate. Giacomo is chiefly remembered for his famous war-cry, that rallied his men in the heat of battle: Art memes, conversely, communicate using the in-work narrative as shorthand.

Semiotically, using visual art in this way shares similarities with the rise of other pictographic communication forms, like emoji and GIFs, which dominate Internet discourse.

Art meme accounts seem to construct a mode of interacting with art with similar polarities and orientations. Although there are many types of textual templates and many memeable works of art, most people bound their behavior to jokes and commentary based on the work rather than serious discussion of art or using the meme to discuss real-world topics, suggesting the idea that art meming could be seen as a mode of interaction distinct from the mode of interacting with art elsewhere or interacting with non-art memes.

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In an art meme mode, the goal of commentary is to turn the image into a relatable situation or joke, rather than to deconstruct or react to the art for its own sake. Hegemonies and biases Conceptualizing the memetic mode and the online participatory culture in which it takes place as a polycultural, polyvocal space that entertains all points of view is exciting but, at best, idealistic. As we compare this idea to its reality, we must ask: Are memes based on racist or sexist works of art themselves sexist?

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Whose voices do these accounts really represent? Ultimately, who wins and who loses in the world of art memes? The overwhelming majority of subjects depicted across art meme accounts on all platforms I studied are white. Nevertheless, subjects of color are excluded from representation in these memes overwhelmingly. Art memespaces, as part of this ecosystem of content, do not represent cultural production that directly contradicts historic or, indeed, contemporary power structures.

The assumption that artifacts of participatory culture are more diversely representational or equal than their non-participatory counterparts, as art memes illustrate, is not always true. Further research into non-Roman alphabet languages and social media platforms, like Weibo, that are popular in non-Western contexts might reveal art meming with a whole different set of cultural associations and intertextualities.

More attention should be paid to the transnationality of art memes and what other global perspectives contribute to the discourse. Art meming is a specific, observable, widespread action that involves people interacting with museum objects as part of their everyday lives, without institutional prompting.

Museums have a stake in this new mode of participation, particularly in understanding what their collections mean to people online. As museums address the issues of maintaining relevance in the information age and creating meaningful points of engagement for visitors both physical and virtual, they ought to pay attention to memetic behaviors.

This investigation has implications beyond art museums; additional research might provide insight into pathways for engagement. How can museums use consociality and templatability to affect engagement? Is humor an effective emotional key to making art accessible?

Further research would also clarify how the idea of the template affects engagement with art. Observed trends in art memes suggest that this idea applies when participating with art.


Where encountering art in an open-ended way might create anxieties, memes offer a specific, socially constructed and accepted code by which to engage. This idea may find purchase beyond memes in improving interpretive participation with art and dissolving the barriers between modes. Ultimately, art memes represent widespread co-production: The structures and observances I have cataloged are already slowly changing and will soon look and feel different, so it is more critical that research in this field and related studies of memetics keep up, developing an ongoing understanding not only of how memes continue to form understandings of the world around us, but how they represent historic interplay with similar attempts to make sense of the world.

Mobile Phones and the Museum in the Everyday. Romantic and contemporary poetry: Consulted June 31, Museums and the Interpretation of Visual Culture. London and New York: Circulating Memes as Expressions. A Semiotic Approach to Literature and Art. Discourse and Identity in Participatory Media. Consulted July 21, Consulted June 3, Consulted July 11, Consulted May 2, Facebook, January 1, Consulted June 6 Consulted Jul 13, Facebook, January 1,7: Consulted 6 June Facebook, January 2,3: Consulted June 6, Memes In Digital Culture.

Reconciling with a Conceptual Troublemaker. The Museum of Modern Art. Consulted June 11,