Ermahgerd?

Fame is an unusual concept based on how society values you. Actors, musicians and the incredibly wealthy are who we see to be ‘famous’. The idea of fame seems to be attractive to the general public, but once you’ve got fame does one still want it? Even as a meme star?

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Reddit, the home to many, many, maannnny memes allows everyday people to be “blessed by the meme gods” and receive widespread attention across the internet. The Ermahgerd Girl is a key example of the consequences of being the face of a meme. Maggie Goldenberger was doing what most 23 year olds do – travelling the world when her face begun to spread across the world wide web. This circulation led to new versions being made, from ERMAHGERD GERSBERMS to popular culture classics such as BERTMERNA new language was formed, using an uncommon “R” sound.

[This week’s reading] Vanity Fair concluded with the fact that Goldenberger felt delighted by the internet “laughing with her at the obviously ridiculous character she was playing—not at her” as well as the great feeling of nostalgia. However, Goldenberger was shocked that many years later she was photographed again, not as a character but of herself whilst holidaying in Hawaii.

[side-note: go Goldenberger for always being on holiday]

This picture under took the same process of circulation but with her real name attached. The picture was getting negatively attacked by internet users and continued to widely spread. This is when the internet ruins its own greatness as all the unnecessary negativity holds power.

So I ask, would you like to be the face of a meme like Goldenberger or these guys?

It seems the ultimate meme formula includes a relatable image to interpret, the ability to caption that image and the image’s durability; to remade over and over.

I re-created The Ermahgerd Girl meme to reflect today’s context:

 

 

To be or not to be?

Citizen journalism allows for ordinary people, like you or I to be content producers with no gatekeepers required.

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With this in mind, would you be a citizen journalist or are you already?

The internet has allowed a wonderful power shift to occur within this age of information. Content can be watched, read and engaged with from a range of devices. It is no longer a case of restricting yourself to watching the typical six o’clock news on a television but a choice of what, where and who. Speaking for myself, I mostly read my news from Twitter or from online publications. Content made from either @internet_user99 or The New York Times can be equally relevant.

The reliance on citizen journalism is absolute as the public can spread necessary information to each other without forced agenda or financial incentives. Jeff Deutchman, the director of 11/4/08 said “…there is something really interesting about the level of democracy involved in using crowd-sourced footage.” In his film 11/4/08, Deutchman used crowd-sourced footage to justify the documentary’s purpose; to show the direct result of Barack Obama getting elected as the 44th President of the United States.

Deutchman alluded to the fact that filmmaking is no longer as traditional as a “top-down structure where the director is in control” but a form of collaboration with the public, including citizen journalists. Both film-makers and journalists record culture and reflect upon it whilst citizen journalists are figures of culture.

Moral of the story, the internet is the best as it allows for citizen journalism to thrive (and because it’s home to the dankest memes).

 

References:

Image: Feel free to click on the image and it will direct to the source

An error occurred…?

“The notion of glitch is also present in other realms of contemporary culture, where the reuse and remix of existing elements into something new is fundamental.”

Have you ever been in the process of crafting something when an aspect goes wrong but somehow you enjoy it more than your initial idea?

*cue the introduction into  _-_/G  L !TcH..> art *

Which piece do you find more aesthetically pleasing? (see below).

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’13’ courts 01 (2007-2012) Ward Roberts 
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1947 film noir, Nora Prentiss glitch by Hugh Manon

What about now…

Is your answer still the same?

A reinvention of the original image is made. This as a result changes the definition of its initial art-form (from photography to glitch art). It is no longer simply a photograph but now a short animation with multiple digital layers. The aesthetics have also altered, from pastels to several colour schemes. The still image is now brought to life through its conversion into a different medium. By changing mediums, the piece itself has differing effects on you. As an image – there is no interaction but as an animation the audience are active observers.

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I’ve made my own piece of glitch art (below). Initially, it was a painting from many centuries ago and now it’s transformed into a digital animation within the present century.

Tweet me @sophemacy what you think.

References:

We’re all participants!

You’ve just finished a great book. It’s gotten a lot of hype on a mass scale, so then it is made into a film. From the film, a soundtrack is made. Now, you’ve read a book, watched a movie and listened to a soundtrack but the engagement with that text doesn’t yet end. From there, a game is now being developed with an app to follow. Along the way, this text has gained and perhaps lost ‘fans’ with their interaction with each medium. As a form of convergence, this text is no longer just one. (Lord of the Rings, amrite)

As a result of media convergence, we’re now left with a string of possibilities to choose from in regard to medium. In today’s context, a book, movie, soundtrack and game can be all within the one device – your smartphone. The technology being your smartphone, the audience being the fans and the industries being inclusive of publishing, film and gaming.

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Media convergence allows the users and fans to become more and more active. Due to this, audiences are no longer passive. To use Lord of the Rings as an example, the fans continue to create and share content across all media platforms, especially Twitter

Are you totally obsessed … with media convergence?

Research Proposal: More than just a punchline!

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How many times a day do you scroll past or engage with internet memes? It seems meme culture is rapidly taking over the internet and with no discouragement from the users because let’s face it – they’re entertaining!

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It raises the question – how has communication changed due to the emergence of internet memes?

Visual communication has existed since the Ancient Greeks with their use of pictographs to interact with one another (Haldermann 2014). In today’s world, emoticons and memes are our versions of pictographs. Although, we now text, tweet, message or share with no caves or rocks required.

Memes communicate a message, perhaps even story and if we imagine “memes as a genre” could memes be considered a form of literature? (Ejaz 2016). Literature evolves with society as do memes. The comparison can be made between a meme and a fable as they are both “community-driven, anonymously produced and open to modification” (Ejaz 2016). This idea drove me to choose this topic to research as I am curious about both memes and literature.

Memes embody popular culture in the simplest form, an image. The origin of the infamous ‘meme’ began with biologist, Richard Dawkins in 1976. Dawkins related ‘meme’ to ‘gene’ in an attempt to characterise the small units of culture. They find their similarity based on their “spread”, from person to person (Shifman & Thelwall 2009). Memes are circulated across multiple internet platforms and like genes they experience “variation, selection and retention” (Shifman & Thelwall 2009).

Social media platforms are the main home to the majority of memes across the internet, from Twitter to Facebook to Instagram. Many users rely on these platforms for their daily dose of laughter. Memes allow users to express their sense of self, by sharing, tweeting and retweeting, users can relate to one another without physically communicating. Reddit and YouTube too publish memes, allowing for a wider circulation to occur. Memes are basically inescapable in the Digital Age. Memes allow communication to become “simplified” more so than already (Gerbaudo 2016).

I will require both qualitative and quantitative data in order to fully research this topic. This methodology will give my research project breadth and will assist in answering my question. As I conduct my research, I will acknowledge and respect the ethical standards put forward by the university. Through surveying fellow students from campus, I will be able to gather the necessary information most relevant to the age group of eighteen to twenty five. Those involved will also have the option of anonymity if they wish.

I look forward to delving further into this topic and hopefully uncover new memes as I go! 

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Tweet me your favourite memes @sophemacy

 

References:

  • Davison. P 2012,‘The Language of Internet Memes’, The Social Media Reader, edited by Michael Mandiberg, NYU Press,  pp. 120–134, <www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt16gzq5m.13> Viewed 10 March 2017
  • Ejaz. A 2016, ‘Are Internet Memes a New Form of Literature?’, Quillete, 28 November, <http://quillette.com/2016/11/28/are-internet-memes-a-new-form-of-literature/ > viewed on 10 March 2017
  • Haldermann. J 2014, ‘A brief history of pictograms and ideograms’, Spicy Learning Blog, 11 November, <http://saffroninteractive.com/a-brief-history-of-pictograms-and-ideograms/> viewed on 10 March 2017
  • How memes create social and political change, 2016, MP3, Chips with Everything: The Guardian, presented by Leigh Alexander with Elena Cresci and produced by Matt Shore, commentary from Paulo Gerbaudo and Joel Penney, United Kingdom.
  • Knobel. M, Lankshear. C 2007, ‘Chapter 9: Online Memes, Affinities, and Cultural Production’, A New Literacies Sampler, Peter Lang Publishing, New York, U.S, vol. 29, pp.199-227, viewed 10 March 2017.
  • Siemens. G 2005, ‘Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age’, pp.1-8, <http://er.dut.ac.za/bitstream/handle/123456789/69/Siemens_2005_Connectivism_A_learning_theory_for_the_digital_age.pdf> viewed 10 March 2017
  • Thelwall. M, Shifman. L 2009, ‘Assessing Global Diffusion with Web Memetics: The Spread and Evolution of a Popular Joke’, Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 1, pp. 1-4.
  • Zittrain. JL 2008, ‘The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It’, Yale University Press & Penguin UK, pp. 1-10, viewed 9 March 2017.

 

Images:

  1. Janskishimanshi via Reddit 2017, Whomst, image, Daily Dot, viewed 11 March 2017 <https://www.dailydot.com/unclick/best-memes-2017/>
  2. Skinkbaa via Reddit 2017, Trump’s Execuive Order, image, Daily Dot, viewed 11 March 2017 <https://www.dailydot.com/unclick/best-memes-2017/>
  3. Unknown 2017, Definition of Meme, image; screenshot, Google, viewed 10 March 2017 <http://www.google.com.au/search?q=define+meme