Facebook, when contrasted to the plethora of social media sites out there, has an incredibly vast output of and a potential for the creation of memes. Facebook today is a massive influx of information and opinions regarding social lives and ideas, and it is only natural that some of these ideas are found amusing or funny etc, and subsequently are imitated by others, and variations are made of it. The funny thing about Facebook is as wide ranging and encompassing as it is, it still is quite limiting when it comes to the structure of its memes. Far and away the most common is the status update. Status updates on Facebook assist people in identifying, learning, and comprehending their friends and the people around them. It is a brief window into the individual; it lets us in on what they are thinking, what they are doing, and how they are feeling. Another staggering part to status updates is their rampant popularity: Every day, hundreds of thousands of people across the world write new updates, using millions upon millions of words to describe one thing or another. The memes that take place here can offer an interesting take on all of the things thoughts and feelings that connect people.
Take a trend that began earlier this month on Facebook that consisted of a flooding of updates that spelled out where women “like it”. (Although some people claim the “it” refers to purses, and where they like to put them, I don’t think I have to spell out for you what was implied by these posts.) Evidently, all these posts were supposed to go hand in hand with National Breast Cancer Awareness month (this October!) to promote awareness, to encourage efforts for the search for a cure, and to egg women on to get breast exams.
Some criticism and disapproval has been levied against the posts, and on one level, it’s very difficult to fight against breast cancer awareness. How does one voice their opinion against these posts without sounding far too prim and proper? Is it even possible to voice opinion against these posts without sounding against breast cancer awareness? But on the other hand I don’t necessarily like the feeling of using breast cancer awareness as a front to make funny, sometimes mocking jokes on Facebook. It doesn’t feel right, it doesn’t carry the right message, and it really isn’t even related to breast cancer awareness.
The incredible thing at hand here is the polarization, and immediate judgment making and opinion forming that takes place all because of a silly little meme on Facebook. People and advertisers have been putting out their opinions and products into the open for a very long time, with everyone competing for attention. The creation of memes – that is, ideas that replicate themselves in the common social collective – has been harnessed by people everywhere to spread their ideas. The question is, are memes like the ones we can find in Facebook valuable? Are they taken seriously enough to force you to think about X, Y, or Z? Do they last long enough to even have an impact in our lives? I suppose only time can tell.