Five Meme Story? Say No More~

Really, say no more. Never do this to us again.

Creating A Narrative Across Memes

It sounds like a fun and inventive idea but bruh, this was not easy. Memes are these concise, little story units unto themselves and combining them is not a simple task. Even trying to get meme templates to “jive” with each other is challenging. Also, I find it difficult to superimpose another meaning atop a meme with a strong context of it own, especially if that meaning is not necessarily in the “spirit” of the meme. For example, this activity asked us to create a cohesive narrative out of five memes about how digital alchemy can combat darkness online which is a very serious and direct topic that can conflict with the free-spirited, lackadaisical, nonsensical, often subversive nature of most memes. Similarly to how providing attribution to memes online is kind of antithetical to the free-access, anti-establishment medium in some ways, attributing a serious, “this is a real problem” meaning to a meme seems somehow contradictory. Maybe that’s just me though and everyone else had a grand ol’ time doing this activity. Idk. I’m one memer of many. Perhaps I’m also over thinking the task or I’m not creative enough for it. That said, I did not particularly enjoy this activity.

Still did it, tho. With varying success.

You be the judge of my handiwork:

Click to view slideshow.You get the story? I hope so!

I meant for this work to be a commentary on how, often, a lack of input from invested and engaged citizenry in sociopolitical decision-making processes can be just as great a contributing factor to many of the issues we now face with the internet as unregulated data tracking and surveillance. In order for positive changes to occur in America specifically, we as citizens of the country are going to need to step up and activate the power we can have as a collective of concerned individuals. I hope at least part of that message got through (in a nice enough way). Another challenge I faced in doing this activity is that I don’t usually write positive stories??? I like writing harsh words filled with “mean” and mercurial characters that are able to give as good as they get from an unapologetically brutal world. Anyway.

Here’s a more comprehensive breakdown of the images I sourced to create this story:

  1. classmemeThe first image used makes use of the Distracted Boyfriend meme template and was sourced from the Somniporta’s “A Meme Countering Internet Darkness” collection. The meme in the collection is titled “Helllooooo” and is described as a meme intended to emphasize the growing disconnect between increasingly digital surveillance of American citizens and common sense. It was created using the imgflip Meme Generator. I think is opens discussion and allows for a dialogue to occur around it. I use it in my story as exposition.
  2. IMG_7352The second image used is a bit of a cheat in that it’s a Twitter post. That said, I do believe it is an example of “shitposting” (sharing purposeful nonsense online) which falls under the larger purview of memes because shitposting can also be classified as a unit of cultural transmission that spreads via inspiring further iterations of itself or the idea contained within. This post comes from @sosadtoday and I believe was posted during the US government shutdown(?) so it may have originally been referencing that. I use it to introduce a problem/create rising action.
  3. batmanmemeThis third image was one I created using the imgflip Meme Generator. I used the “My Parents Are Dead/Batman Slapping Robin” meme template. I use it to address the previously introduced action–that everything going on online is stupid and contradicts common sense. I guess it’s the climax of my story? It addresses preconceived notions about the previously stated problem head-on and demands a reevaluation of those ideas.
  4. hardpilltoswallowmemeMy fourth image was made using the “Hard to Swallow Pills” meme template and was also created using imgflip Meme Generator. I use it to summarize what was really implied by the last image–that change, in regards to the problem at hand (lol), is possible and within reach. This change, though, require reflection on our part and action that addresses some of the roots of the problems currently occurring in unregulated, online arenas. It’s my denouement, I guess.
  5. 2019-03-14 (2)My fifth and final meme makes use of a lesser-known text-based meme format that is known as the “Inappropriate Audition Songs” meme. (Read even more about the format here and check out more examples.) I used the template provided for it (hi i’m auditioning for the role of [characterand i’ll be singing [song that is inappropriate for the role]) and created my own version of the meme using my own tumblr account (hence the lack of attribution–it’s mine and I don’t feel like giving ya’ll my tumblr handle). I reference the second meme which conveys a rather apathetic sentiment to fill in the first blank of the template and, for the second blank, I reference a song that is all about making your own luck and finding your own sense of hope in an otherwise cold world. It’s the conclusion of my story and is meant to convey that while things may be bleak, if we can gather our forces and commit to change, there can still be hope~ ain’t it sweet

I hope the explanation here doesn’t take away from the story. More, I hope you enjoyed my story and I hope it challenged you in a good way.

Please, let me know what you think of my story and be sure to check out my main post on memes! It’s where all the really hot takes are 😉

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~Till next time~

dork1

There Appears to Be an Obstruction on the Way to the Bank

As promised, this post is going to cover the subject of ads and the ad-block application. I’m certain that every person who roams around the internet is fully aware of what online ads are; pop-up ads, display ads, video ads… etc. Users get bombarded by these ads all the time. They cause immense slowdown, unnecessary distractions, or even secretly contain malware that could harm your computer. Some people, though, may not be too familiar with the ad-block application. What is it? Well, it’s an application that blocks ads… Is that answer sophisticated enough? Unfortunately, it only blocks ads on the internet, not in real world —which I wish were not the case. You basically download it as an add-on for your internet browser and… voilà! No more ads. Well, the large majority of them at least; certain ads still manage to get through. This lets you surf the internet with ease and higher speed, and you do not need to worry about any unwanted software. Of course, in terms of ads containing those malicious software, I’m not speaking of shady websites riddled with them. That… would be your fault in that situation. You can’t simply walk into a bear cave and then complain about being unjustly attacked by its dweller. Yet, dark caves are not the only locations where you’d run into a bear. They could be seen around public places as well. Do not panic, but one could be roaming around in your backyard right now, maybe checking out your garbage container (if you’ve got one). Regardless, online ads do steal your (precious?) time and that ad-block program really improves the experience of surfing online. And, yes… I totally talked about online ads and bears digging trash within the same paragraph —I love analogies!

Using ad-block also happens to be a topic of controversy among online publishers. I have come across this interesting piece online: “https://marketingland.com/ad-mageddon-perspectives-ad-blocking-impacts-comes-next-227090”. It covers this specific subject of ads thoroughly well. Its author talks about the damage this particular application potentially causes, and even mentions the counter-measurement that certain websites attempt to utilize, which is asking the visitors to turnoff their ad-block application if they wish to read/watch anything on there (the premise of the meme-narrative from previous post). Simply put, the damage is the drop in revenue. So, they try to balance it out by… force? Not so surprisingly, the author of that article describes this attempt by the publisher as “an indicator of desperation”. I’d have to agree. Forcing people to be exposed to advertisement in order to get money from them is indeed desperate (to put it mildly). Also, keeping your own content hostage is… not very bright. Most of the time, the content isn’t even exclusive, especially in terms of news. If it is exclusive, then as a content creator (written article or an online video) you’d want and need exposure to be recognized. I get it, though. Some people need revenue in order to create that content because they are not part of a corporation. All the expenses are coming out of their own pocket. Although I may be sympathetic, I can’t help but wonder if forceful exposure is the only way to “stay alive”. The author suggests in the article that “a ‘frictionless payment system’ for publishers might work out well for those who understand they need to support content that they consume”. Now, what kind of payment system would be “frictionless”? At the moment, the only thing I could think of is Patreon, an online platform where consumers can directly pay for the very content that they consume. A temporary solution perhaps, for the time being, but it’s still better in comparison to the alternative.

I do not believe the giant corporations like Facebook would be fazed by the ad-block application, in the least, despite a drop in revenue. The indie publishers, however, certainly would feel the pain. As I’ve already said, it’s difficult to dismiss their “plight” out of hand. A slightly exaggerated struggle, in my opinion, but it’s a struggle nonetheless. The funny thing is, though, that a lot of people seem to be concerned only about one aspect of the situation. It’s always about what these independent publishers need to do or “must do”. Instead, let’s look at the bigger picture. Why do the advertisement companies hold the fate of these publishers in their hands? Think about it— Is free media solely dependent on a commercial for Pepsi or Burger King? (TM, btw) Whatever happened to that “free” part? Something is seriously wrong here. I really hope that Patreon, or at least the concept of that platform, eventually becomes a norm; a key that unlocks the door to a better environment where both the consumer and the publisher gets to enjoy a “lived happily ever after”.

I’ll end the post right here, even though I have so much more to say about the topic. Sadly, it turned out to be slightly more negative than I’d considered —also a lot longer… I mean, a lot. In my last post, I talked about “the light that was seeping in”. So, you can merely pretend that this was a piece of cloth falling down in front of the window and momentarily blocking that beam of light. Though, I can’t really promise it’ll be the last one.

The usefulness of the website provided above: 8/10