Meme Viability: Elements of Effective Political Internet Memes
The word meme was coined by Richard Dawkins (1976) in his book, The Selfish Gene. According to him, memes are cultural accretion of knowledge and ideas that can be passed on to others. Gil (2016) described memes as a virally-transmitted cultural symbol or social idea. According to him, meme behaves like flu or a virus that travels from person to person quickly. Today, it travels much faster than simple speech. Memes travel instantly through the internet such as email forwards, chats and web page links. Nowadays, political memes have become increasingly prevalent, and become an effective tool for political commentaries (Pleviriti, 2014). Also, memes are highly shareable through social media and are becoming tomorrow’s campaign slogans and firewood for negative ads (Nasri, 2012). Using qualitative methods of research by conducting a thematic analysis of interview excerpts, this study has found that political memes are considered viable when these elements are present: satire, persuasiveness, and relevance. These elements influence many of its audience and move them to like, comment, post, or share about it.