Essay Example on Popular Culture in the Age of Social Media

Paper Type:  Thesis
Pages:  5
Wordcount:  1362 Words
Date:  2022-12-27

Popular culture denotes the set of beliefs, ideas, information, art, food, clothing, music or even fashion that is popular among the ordinary population as opposed to the elite members in the society (McAdams, 2014). Technological advancement in the past few decades has had a significant impact on the way we view and approach things. The rise of social media, for instance, has greatly influenced popular culture in modern society. An example of a popular culture that society has greatly embraced in the 21st century is the use of internet memes. Internet memes are social comments with satirical undertones, they are manifested in the use of a short image and a short statement. Memes can be used to convey one's opinion to the public (Ross, 2016).

Trust banner

Is your time best spent reading someone else’s essay? Get a 100% original essay FROM A CERTIFIED WRITER!

The term "meme" is derived from evolutionary biology. Richard Dawkins in "The Selfish Gene", refers to a meme as "a unit of cultural transmission or imitation". He further alludes to examples including the concept of God, nursery rhymes and jokes, catchphrases and fashion trends (Dawkins, 1981). Memes have been propagated so much by social media and especially because of the internet discovery, modern internet memes are captioned photos or videos with short statements that serve different roles in the society which includes those discussed in this exercise as below.

Memes are a funny way to ridicule human behavior since hey can be used to critique culture in humorous ways but it does not delve deeper into the topic. They are also used to reveal the interest of our society given that memes have gained so much popularity in modern society through the use of humor, images, intertextuality, and multiple cultural texts (Davis, 2019). In addition, they can be used as a marketing tool as they captivate audiences and delivers the message in the most humorous way (Gil, 2019).

Memes serve as great marketing tools since they are culture and good ones spread quickly-ones ad spreads quickly without much struggle. Using memes, one can convey a short message with a powerful meaning, demonstrating one's understanding of the digital world and on top of calling the audience to action and selling to the audience, it serves an entertaining purpose (Gil, 2019). They also are visual imagery, which has taken over the internet. Nowadays people do not take time to read through pages of texts, thus memes create a sweet and short depiction of your message that takes little time to digest. Also, they serve to generate traffic and links because they are easily shared on social media thus can easily generate inbound links and traffic on one's website. Moreover, they are quick and easy to create and one does not need to try thinking of how to create a meme because with the invention of Photoshop and Microsoft paint one can create a meme within minutes. Instead of creating a new meme, one can also reuse or tailor make with their own wording to fit their intended purpose, making it easy for marketing purposes (Hammond, 2014).

An Individual's way of decoding a particular meme according to Stuart Hall's theory of encoding and decoding is dependent on personal experience, education level, culture, social characteristics and even their participation on the internet and their understanding of the humor. One's ability to decode an internet meme is dependent on these factors such as the frequency of internet use. Through frequent use of the internet people get to understand and be able to decode different memes that are posted online, different memes posted target an exclusive group and so for one to get the deeper understanding they must be regular consumers of the internet. An example is given of an audience whom one is an internet user and the other one oblivious of the word internet, the other shares internet humor with them but they cannot get it because they are not on the internet, it forces the other to explain to them the joke and thus make it less humorous (Steeley, 2014).

Each meme also contains a specific voice because of the image it bears someone's character may not be sarcastic as such but an internet meme may be created by an internet user and may portray a different meaning altogether for instance in the picture below one can decipher different meanings, the image passes different meaning than the phrase.

Additionally, memes create an illusion of participation. The sharing of memes by different internet users in social media indicates that they agree with what is being communicated in the meme, people use this form of culture to share their opinions, people within certain demographics are targeted and therefore when shared they seem to be a uniform form of communication because people seem to understand each other (Theresa, 2014).

However, as memes have been embraced in the modern world there have been both negative and positive effects on the use of internet memes. The advantages include the manner in which they are attention-grabbing. Images used in social marketing are attention-grabbing, content with relevant images are likely to get more views than those without relevant images, memes, in this case, are written in big and bold texts that grab the reader's attention. They also are easy to make and share. Memes are easy to create and can be shared through any platform, for one to create a meme they should have an image that one can insert a relatable text over it. Memes also focus on different and relevant topics that one can relate to, they can be directed to a specific target group thus making them be directly involved in one's visual campaign (Pullman, 2016).

On the downside though, for one's meme to be able to stand out, it requires continual research and being up to date is a skill that one must have. The lifespan of a meme is also very short and one needs to be updated on the current topics covered. Creating a new meme may also be equally dangerous as it might not be catchy or may not be popular amongst one fan. They also are exclusive as they target different demographics and so for one to decipher the message they need to be within the younger demographics or to be up to date, one may want to reach a vast audience and may end up not reaching them because of differences in demographics (Wu, 2013).

Internet memes have no doubt revolutionized the way of communication in the contemporary society and with technological advancement, memes are moving with the trends and its future is so uncertain because they develop everyday just as the world advances. The millennials are its partakers and therefore, its growth seems continual since this generation is full of ideas that they experiment every day. This has become a part of the popular culture of modern times as we have discussed above.


Davis, L. (2019). What Is A Meme And Why You Should Care Bixa Media. [online] Bixa Media. Available at: [Accessed 2 May 2019].

Dawkins, R., 1981. Selfish genes and selfish memes. The mind's I: Fantasies and reflections on self and soul, pp.124-144.

Gil, P. (2019). Examples of Memes and How to Use Them. [online] Lifewire. Available at: [Accessed 2 May 2019].

Hammond, K. (2014). The Effects That American Pop Culture Has on Our Everyday Lives. [online] Available at: [Accessed 2 May 2019].

McAdams, C. (2014). Definition of American Pop Culture. [online] Available at: [Accessed 2 May 2019].

Pullman, B. (2016). Memes: Use Them or Lose Them? The Pro's and Con's of Using Memes in your Marketing. [online] LUC Marketing 399. Available at: [Accessed 2 May 2019].

Ross, A., 2016. No respect: Intellectuals and popular culture. Routledge.

STEELEY, K. (2014). Decoding Memes. [online] Siren Song of the Popular Culture. Available at: [Accessed 2 May 2019].

Theresa, T. (2014). Influence of American Pop Culture. [online] Available at: [Accessed 2 May 2019].

Wu, B. (2013). Memes: What are They and Why They Are Important | Glocal Notes - the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. [online] Available at: [Accessed 2 May 2019].

Cite this page

Essay Example on Popular Culture in the Age of Social Media. (2022, Dec 27). Retrieved from

Free essays can be submitted by anyone,

so we do not vouch for their quality

Want a quality guarantee?
Order from one of our vetted writers instead

If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the ProEssays website, please click below to request its removal:

didn't find image

Liked this essay sample but need an original one?

Hire a professional with VAST experience and 25% off!

24/7 online support

NO plagiarism