Meme Viability: Elements of Effective Political Internet Memes

  • Samuel Saberon University of San Jose-Recoletos
  • Anniza D. Marilao University of San Jose-Recoletos
  • Micah Sophia Columbres Marcellones University of San Jose-Recoletos
  • John Louie Zabala, MLIS De La Salle University
Keywords: Memetics, internet memes, satire, social media


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.

Author Biographies

Samuel Saberon, University of San Jose-Recoletos

Samuel Saberon is presently pursuing a Bachelor of Laws degree at the University of San Carlos. Prior to studying Law, he worked at Sun.Star Cebu after finishing BA Communication at the University of San Jose-Recoletos. He had won awards for Best Research Presentation and Best Research Paper with co-authors Anniza Marilao and Micah Sophia Columbres-Marcellones during the 1st National Journalism and Commmunication Research Congress organized by the Cebu Association of Communication Educators and the Canadian Embassy in the Philippines.

Anniza D. Marilao, University of San Jose-Recoletos

Anniza Marilao is currently studying Master of Media Studies at the University of San Jose - Recoletos where she finished her Bachelor of Arts in Communication degree. Aside from her studies, she also works as a Social Media Manager and content writer. Her interest includes uncovering media trends and sensations. 

Micah Sophia Columbres Marcellones, University of San Jose-Recoletos

Micah Sophia Columbres-Marcellones works as a General Assignment Reporter/ Writer of Cebu Daily News Digital. She graduated from the University of San Jose-Recoletos with a degree in Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. 

John Louie Zabala, MLIS, De La Salle University

John Louie T. Zabala works as Readers’ Services Librarian at De La Salle University Libraries in Manila. In 2018, he presented a paper entitled “Towards a Literate Studentry: Media and Information Literacy Implementation in the Philippines” at the Conference of Southeast Asian Librarians (CONSAL) XVII held in Nyapitaw, Myanmar in 2018. Before that, in 2017, his paper entitled “Antecedents of Searching Satisfaction: A Usability Study of an Online Public Access Catalog was published in the ASLP Journal, Volume 3, Issue No. 2. In 2016, he was chosen as Country Ambassador to the Philippines by the International Librarians Network. He continues to serve in this capacity until at present. He finished his Master in Library Science degree at the Cebu Normal University where he also earned Doctoral units in Research and Evaluation. He took up his undergraduate degree of Bachelor in Library and Information Science at the University of San Jose-Recoletos where he graduated Magna Cum Laude in 2012. That same year, he placed 4th in the Licensure Examination for Librarians.