Growing up, the only memes I was exposed to were the stereotypical “can i haz cheezburger” and the infamous “internet troll.” These memes seemed hysterical at the time, but looking back they are overwhelmingly archaic and cheesy.
It was not until around my senior year of high school (circa 2015) that memes became more relatable and personal. In addition, the word “meme” – in my own vocabulary – came to mean anything from the classic image with the impact font overlayed to a screenshot of a tweet.
With a simple Google search, you’ll find that a meme is defined as “a humorous image, video, piece of text, etc., that is copied (often with slight variations) and spread rapidly by Internet users.”
However, I would argue that the word humorous should be coupled with the term relatable. In fact, that relatability is what makes the meme shareable. It is one thing for something to be funny, it is another when a large group of people can sympathize with a meme.
In this social media age, we wish to share things that reflect on us – whether that is a Reductress article or a viral meme. Additionally, we tag our friends in laughable posts that remind us of our lives, interactions and relationships.
It is this relatable and shareable content that reminds me I am not the only one tackling these emotions. In fact, this relatability often reflect thoughts and emotions I hold to myself. As a result, seeing these thoughts reflected on a viral level gives me a sense of comfort – after all, it confirms I am not the only one experiencing these things.
My tone thus far sounds very serious, but it is not necessarily meant to be. Take this meme (below) for example. Yes, it is pretty morbid when taken literally, but it is mostly humourous, and every college student has had thing thought process at one point of another.
me driving on campus: if u don’t move I will hit u omg
me walking on campus: what r they gonna do lol hit me
— Cas (@CassieCothernXO) August 22, 2018
As silly as it seem, these statements remind me that there’s some universality in our thoughts:
We all get a little wild when we drinks with our best friends,
There’s always a needy, hungry cat that embodies this meme,
Or, you gush over your friend on social media despite helping them carefully select the perfect photo to post minutes before
Regardless of what the meme is, there will always be a bit of camaraderie between sharers. It is this relatable nature that reminds me that I’m not the only person out there thinking these thoughts, feeling these feelings and having these experiences. To me, that is insanely comforting.