By SARAH EDWARDS [Huffington Post] – Like most other college students, I follow meme blogs and laugh and share them with other people. They’re clever! They’re relevant! And they make me feel like I am experiencing something communal. How fantastic; a giant inside joke between me and everyone else on the Internet!
Comparing memes to poetry is enough to make any poetry teacher cringe — a few of mine probably will, after reading this. Poetry is inherently deep and memes are inherently shallow! Right? But I think the reason we gravitate toward poetry and gravitate toward Internet memes is analogous.
Like poetry, memes have the power to make us feel like we are engaging in a collective cultural experience. The comparison abruptly stops there — memes aren’t beautiful and don’t require much discipline or insight. But — but! — Internet memes do capitalize on our desire for common experiences.
Like poetry, memes are expanded metaphors of daily life. They are not quite as self-serving as other Internet mediums like Facebook, because the idea of a meme is to reinforce a thought about life, rather than reinforce our own image.
Of course, yes. I am afraid that my generation is in danger — that I am in danger — of losing out on the ability to communicate, to look at people in the eye with unbroken attention. I am afraid that I will never fully be present because there is constantly a screen barrier; a way to present to the world the inaccurate premise that I have better people to see, places to go, things to do.
But the popularity of memes…