I’m scared of people who use guns to harm other people. But I’m not scared of people who use memes to hurt others – Why? Memes are not only funny, they can be used as propaganda to sway ones opinion on political events, which can cause a lot of harm if political institutions and individuals do not have societies best interests at heart. Mimetic Warfare is used to describe the power that each individual has globally to sit in front of a screen that has an internet connection, and distribute unfiltered content that is a reflection of their beliefs. For example, the below remediation highlights the blending of a popular meme character and the vegan protest that happened in Melbourne yesterday:
A lack of gate keeping can mean more honest, unbiased material is published on the online space. However, it also allows the spread of fake news. It is important to note that the spread of fake news is nothing new, and fake news has been infiltrating every media space (both new and traditional) for decades. Every marketing campaign is in its own right is fake news, because companies are not going to tell you negative aspects of their service that you do not want to hear. The video below shows food featured in an ad, and how it is made:
So although Haddow from the Guardian (as our required text for this week) believes that memes are “killing our ability to intelligently orchestrate a political conversation,” he fails to consider the endless commercials, pamphlets, live-streamed Q&A’s and websites that speak in-favour of the political parties, which in turn are also a form of fake news due to their one-way perspective:
Later in the article, Haddow explains the power of memes and claims they “have grown into a form of anarchic folk propaganda, ranging from tolerable epigrams to glittering hate-soaked image macros akin to a million little rogue Pravdas.” Memes are a new platform used to call campaigns, people and news stories out on what they have published, serving as another platform through which ‘hot topics’ can be depicted and spoken about. Overall memes facilitate further discussion in the online space.