I can haz rights?

Online memes as digital embodiment of craft(ivism)

Authored by: Victoria Esteves

The Routledge Companion To Media And Activism

Print publication date:  March  2018
Online publication date:  March  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138202030
eBook ISBN: 9781315475059
Adobe ISBN:


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The current social media landscape boasts many features that have shaped our communication – from Facebook likes, to retweets, to Tinder swipes – most of which rely on a richness of content created by users around the world (Martens 2011: 49; Meikle & Young 2012: 56); within this quotidian digital conversation it is difficult to picture a landscape without thinking of internet memes. These pieces of online culture have found their way into our everyday lived ­experiences: they can be found in a myriad of online exchanges between friends and strangers; they are posted to everyone, anyone, and no one in particular, on a daily basis. Their omnipresence and versatility are such that they are inserted into casual conversations as easily as they make it onto news articles, at times appearing side by side in our news feeds, blurring the conversational line between both. As memes become further entrenched in our cultural zeitgeist, it is unsurprising to find that they have found their way into spaces beyond online communication, spilling outside the delimitations of cyberspace and manifesting in the physical world itself. Memes are showing up in posters all over cities, they are being used in billboard ads and – as I shall be addressing in this chapter – they are making their way into, among other physical embodiments, handheld placards in political protests throughout the world. I shall be exploring this contextual leap that memes have undertaken as well as delving into the consequential meanings that come with these changes.

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