2016 was certainly a great year for memes. A number of subcultures collided with mainstream events to produce some of the most entertaining pictures on the internet for us.
From the US presidential debate to demonetisation, even Pierce Brosnan and Baba Ramdev were not spared by netizens. We look at how internet memes have been used to represent feelings and opinions of every event – monumental or not, while keeping us entertained and up to date, at the same time!
When Richard Dawkins coined the term back in his 1976 bestseller The Selfish Gene, little did he know the term would become a part of our daily vocabulary. “They have become a part of the millennial consciousness and are hugely influenced by modern language and culture. And we have pretty much nailed it because so many epic things have happened – from Tiger Shroff’s flexible photoshoot to Aamir’s drastic weight loss to Kejriwal trying to troll Modi and getting trolled himself! I think it’s a wonderful means of expression,” opines Aditi Harish, a budding writer.
“For better or for worse, they seem to be this generation’s portrait of consciousness and the story of things that have managed to hold our attention, even for brief moments,” adds the youngster.
They are no-longer categorised as slightly embarrassing internet jokes, but expressions of culture instead. But can trolling take a toll on people, considering every embarrassing picture goes viral?
“There are a lot of people who are undoubtedly there to get you and bring you down on the Internet, but that doesn’t mean you hide forever. There is a difference between internet trolls who generate memes and those who slut shame, body shame and bully people. I mean, Deepika Padukone’s pout was made into a meme, so it’s kind of unavoidable. But I think people have learnt to take everything in good spirit because it’s their five seconds of fame. From the heartbreak boy and Kermit talking to his evil, self, everything is done in good humour on the web, and people have to learn to deal with it, because meme’s are here to stay,” says social media consultant Aditya Prabhu.
Whatever else people might have to say about 2016, it was certainly the greatest year for the meme culture. “Memes are so amazing to me because they are easy jokes that people already know the context. And they are so simple to make! It’s literally like a thought that can be converted into a viral joke with just one app on your phone,” says comedian Kritarth Srinivasan, who’s James Bond meme went viral when Brosnan advertised for an Indian paan brand! “Also, memes have templates and it’s great how over time people have started using meme lingo in real life conversations as well!”