Skip to main content

The Use of Memes in Development Communication

Memes facilitate message dissemination.  They are just like commercial spots that attract the attention of people...

A meme is an idea, a behavior or style that stays in the minds of individuals and, eventually, modifies it. This tiny piece of information can take the form of a picture, an action, a sequence of words or an expression (e.g. Pres. Barrack Obama’s, “yes, we can!”). Memes are self-replicating patterns within a culture.  It makes use of our minds to be emulated.  It was the evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins who introduced the term “meme.” In the book, The Selfish Gene (1976), he asserted that memes could spread like a virus, influencing people’s behavior.

In the field of Development Communication, a message/information that has been conceptualized to take the form of a meme may have the following advantages:

. A meme facilitates message dissemination.  A meme is similar to a commercial spot, the refrain of a song, an echo in a canyon. It grabs the attention of the people, provokes their curiosity, makes them ask the meaning of the meme itself by talking about it with other individuals. Thus, it makes it easier for the message to spread instantly.

. A meme offers a wider reach.  Since it is versatile and can take various forms, not only the internet can be used to diffuse it, but both the broadcast and print media can also be employed for its dissemination. So, a meme can reach the urban and the rural areas via the radio or television. People can read it on the newspapers, magazines, posters or billboards. A meme can be seen and heard even in the remote areas of a country.

. A meme provides an entertaining way to transmit a message. An information created and developed in a unique and entertaining way can positively impact its results. By using memes, people themselves do not realize that they are being influenced to do something or think of something in a certain way. The scope of the meme itself never becomes evident, only its effects can be observed later on

. A meme is easily associated with the message it represents. Every time people see or hear a meme, they would immediately identify and associate it with its message. In the long run, as individuals frequently hear and see the meme, its message would eventually stay in their head,  persuading them to follow it.

As a conclusion, acquiring knowledge of the nature of the memes and its evolving mechanism could assist development communication practitioners to realize the key to behavioral patterns and the creation of shared meanings between individuals. As Richard Dawkins asserted,  memes spread like a virus because…

when a meme gets stuck in your head, you are likely to repeat it, and repeat it, until you come to believe it. 


Popular posts from this blog

Importance of Communication Models in Communication for Development

Communication models and approaches facilitate the work of practitioners... Communication models are conceptual models used to explain and describe the human communication . Communication models, approaches and theories are the foundation around which development communication practitioners build ideas on how to effectively transmit the message they would like to convey to the target audience. Communication models and approaches facilitate the work of practitioners because they provide ideas on how individuals react to different types of communication stimulus, the possible consequences that may result when participants in a communication process employ a communication style or shift to another communication style. In addition, communication models and approaches provide practitioners an idea on how to obtain engagement, collaboration and participation from the target audience in order to achieve communication goals. Communication models, approaches and theories are v

Definition and Assumptions of the Uses and Gratification Theory

The uses and gratification theory marked a perspective shift in the study of mass communication... Framed by Elihu Katz, Jay Blumler, and Michael Gurevitch in the 1970’s, the uses and gratification theory marked a perspective shift in the study of mass communication by turning its attention away from media sources and message and how they affect the audience [1].  Blumler and Katz’s uses and gratification theory considers, instead, the audience not a passive but an active player in their  media choices, and that these choices depend largely on media users’ apparent needs, wishes or motives [2], and that audiences are thereby formed based on their similarities of wishes, needs and motives.   E lihu Katz [3] first introduced the uses and gratification perspective when he came up with the idea that individuals make use of media to their advantage.   This perspective surfaced in the 1970’s when Blumler and Gurevitch persisted in expanding the idea.   Blumler and Katz

Concept of Cultural Hegemony According to Antonio Gramsci

When Antonio Gramsci talks about hegemony, he refers to the hegemony of a specific “dominant social group or groups” over the whole society.. . It was the Italian Marxist philosopher  Antonio Gramsci  who introduced the concept of “cultural hegemony”. In the  Selections from the Prison Notebooks  (1999), Gramsci argued that power is based on the presence of two elements: force and consensus.  If force triumphs over consensus, dominion is obtained.  On the other hand, if consensus prevails, hegemony exists. Thus, for Gramsci, hegemony is grounded essentially on consensus.  And this consensus is achieved by means of persuasion.   Persuasion  in all its forms is thereby used to convince that a specific political or cultural idea is better than the others or is “the only way” to view the world.  It is noteworthy to emphasize that   hegemony,  for Gramsci, is the hegemony of a specific “dominant social group or groups” over the whole society, applied  through the various st