The Meme Medium Message

‘The medium is the message’ is an idea coined by Marshall McLuhan in 1964. Without going into specifics (because he definitely didn’t), this means that the form a piece of content takes is more important than the content itself.

This can apply to internet memes. A few important points about memes are

  • As a text, they are easily digested requiring minimal time/effort investment
  • Due their small nature, they must be easily understandable to be successful
  • On a basic level, the goal of a meme is to be entertaining/funny
  • Because of the above points, memes often go viral more than other mediums
  • They are current, a product of the recent digital revolution

These points make the meme a powerful medium. Posting a meme signifies that the creator is relatable, up to date, and human. This coupled with the easily spread nature of memes makes them an ideal tool to influence many people at no monetary cost.
This has led to memes being used by the CIA, the police force, and even Clive Palmer to support their varying interests.

The nature of a meme couples humour with an idea, which makes the idea more attractive to responders.

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5 Replies to “The Meme Medium Message”

  1. Hi. I like your meme and I think it is interesting that you take meme as the topic of your post. But I do not really agree to your claim that “the form a piece of content takes is more important than the content itself”. In the way I understand the Mcluhan’s equation “The medium is the message”, “medium” here refers to not only just mass communications but all new technologies or ideas from which changes emerge in our society and in inter-personal dynamics. Mcluhan message is not the content or the use of the medium, but rather the indicator of those changes, in other words, the effects of the new technology. Thus, “The medium is the message” equation informs us of the consequences of new innovation, rather than saying the form is more important than the content. In this particular case, the medium (meme) is the message of naturally orienting the way we perceive things and having effects on our culture and communication. This is my opinion. I would love to hear from you. Thank you

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  2. Because memes are spread virally so quickly, as an audience we can use this to our advantage. You say a memes purpose is to be funny or entertaining, I also believe they can also be educational due to its relatable nature. It may sound weird to be saying that we could learn something from memes, but the internet is so powerful, that we should consider that it is possible. I am thinking in terms of politics, as many use these politically based memes to gain small quantities of information, such as trumps idea to build a wall, or even memes related to feminism and objectification.

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  3. Awesome use of a meme to show how integral and complex memes really are in today’s society. People are looking for fast ways to get their ideas and messages across to the masses and these days memes are every where. I like your reference to a Clive Palmer. I feel like if he wasn’t using memes he wouldn’t be relevant anymore. The only reason people still follow him and realise his existence is that he’s using memes to get his name out there.
    Clive’s use of memes is kind of saying that politics in it’s self is one giant meme.
    If you’re interested you should check out this http://www.chaser.com.au/general-news/clive-palmers-inspiring-transformation-i-will-become-a-human-meme/ article/interview about the human meme himself.

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