Journey to the Center of Memes

Joshua Lawson | @JoshKLawson

The definition of a meme is an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture. It originated in the field of psychology, and the internet has adopted it and changed the meaning while also embracing the previous definition.

We now live in the digital age. A wealth of knowledge is at our fingertips and fits in the palm of our hand. But, instead of using that tool to learn more about the world around us we use it to spread ideas of what we perceive as funny. Some people create their own memes to share with the world, and others just look at them and laugh. picture2

The definition of memes has expanded beyond intangible thoughts, to ideas that people can see and share. They allow people to experiment with different social cues, expand problem-solving skills, and adopt different social identities as a form of improvisation in relationships. Creating memes has become a new learning activity as

Creating memes has become a new learning activity. Users have to comb through different news outlets, trending RSS feeds, and other relevant content to create a meme that other people find funny and conveys the emotions they wanted. But that doesn’t all memes are good.picture3

Some memes have malicious intent. Some memes use images they don’t have permission to use. Before you make someone into a meme, just, think if you’d be ok if it happened to you. Think if it would affect the image, or personal brand, of the person in the meme. Overall, think before you post. You may think you did all your research, but always double check.

The Impact of Social Media on Social Activism and what it has to do with Advertising

In the age of social media and social activism it is important look at how the two connect and disconnect and how it can affect brands.

By Amanda Castillo | @_mandymichelle

Future-of-Social-Activism
How young adults get involved in social issues through social media. Source: http://www.nptechforgood.com/

In the age of social media, it only makes sense that we would find a way to incorporate it as a tool to advocate for the causes we strongly believe in. Social activism is by no means a new idea but it is changing in the way it is shared and organized through social media platforms. a great example of this is the use of hashtags on Twitter as a way to bring attention to certain topic, #BlackLivesMatter, #LoveWins, #NoDapl, and most recently, #LetThemIn as an attack on an executive order signed by President Trump to ban people from Muslim majority countries from entering the U.S.

While there is no question that social media is a powerful tool for advocating for important causes, is there a disconnect between off-line activism and online activism?

The fact remains: social media cannot reinvent what it means to do social activism, to be political, and to achieve social change. While a retweet or a change of profile picture is a sign of solidarity and a way to spread a message and support a cause, there is often a disconnect between how people want to portray themselves online and how they choose to act on a daily basis. Are they protesting? Are they donating? Are they volunteering? Are they engaging in social activism? Or are they merely saying, “I don’t agree with this, but I’m not inclined to take action against it”.

How can social media help?

“This connectedness is an essential mechanism with which members of our generation communicate with each other not only just to socialize, but also to advance our ideas of social justice for the world we live in.”

The Women’s March on Washington is a recent cause that really showed how a cause can be magnified and elevated to a whole new level through social media. What was supposed to be a local march became a global event because it was a cause that resonated with so many people in a way that made them want to go out and do something. The cause and the organization of the cause were on the same page and it allowed for a historic demonstration to take place. In this case, social media was used as a tool to organize and not just to get people talking but to get people to go out and do.

Okay, great. What does any of this have to do with advertising?

Well, because we as a generation are putting more effort into social activism this means that social justice is no longer off limits for brands. Lifestyle brands are now more likely to take a stand on issues that are trending on social media. In fact, it seems like not taking a stand on certain issues can alienate consumers as much as taking a stand some consumers oppose. An example of this is the #LoveWins campaign. Brands such as Ben and Jerry’s, American Airlines, Macy’s, Target, Jell-O, and many more supported the campaign. While those opposed to the ruling swore off the brands and they may have lost customers they increased their brand loyalty and gained lifelong supporters by taking a stand on a controversial issue. We are seeing this more and more often when equality and diversity are in question and I am interested to see how vocal or non-vocal brands decide to be in the next 4 years.

References:

http://www.adweek.com/digital/2015s-top-5-social-activism-campaigns-blacklivesmatter-lovewins-more/

Has Social Media Successfully Reinvented Social Activism?

http://bigthink.com/praxis/facebook-is-fraying-not-saving-the-world

http://www.wupr.org/2016/06/09/millenials-social-media-and-social-justice/

https://www.womensmarch.com/

http://www.forbes.com/sites/susanmcpherson/2016/01/08/5-csr-trends-that-will-blossom-in-2016/#3f5ebe0a742a

http://digiday.com/brands/lovewins-brands-explode-celebration-following-gay-marriage-ruling/

Sandy Hook Promise Releases Impactful PSA About Preventing Gun Violence

By Kayla Whatley

This past Friday, December 2nd, Sandy Hook Promise released a public service announcement, or PSA, that showed a very powerful video about gun violence and knowing the signs before it’s too late.

The video starts out simple enough, a teenage boy in high school who’s scribble on a library desk leads to him sending messages back and forth between a mystery girl and himself. Just as the teens meet for the first time at the end of the school year, the sweet story turns into a dark ending.

Sandy Hook Promise is a nonprofit organization who is taking their tragic event at Sandy Hook Elementary and turning it into a movement dedicated to preventing gun-related deaths due to crime, suicide and accidental discharge. This is being done through parents, schools and community organizations participating in gun violence prevention programs across the country.

The nonprofit released the PSA video to go along with their new “Know The Signs” campaign and it blew up all over Twitter over the weekend.

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Screenshot of tweets

Along with these screenshots, there were many more accounts who tweeted out the video. Hopefully all the awareness for this PSA video on both Twitter and Facebook will put Sandy Hook Promise on the map and inform those who watch the importance of knowing the signs of gun violence and speaking up before anything can happen like the ending of that video.

References:

Bologna, C. (2016, December 2). You’ll Never See the Shocking Twist in This Gun Violence PSA Coming. The Huffington Post. Retrieved on December 4, 2016 from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/youll-never-see-the-twist-in-this-gun-violence-psa-coming_us_5841d5f6e4b017f37fe4891b

Sandy Hook Promise. Retrieved on December 4, 2016 from http://www.sandyhookpromise.org/

Twitter. Sandy Hook Promise Release Chilling Gun Prevention PSA. Retrieved on December 4, 2016 from https://twitter.com/i/moments/805608145305227265

Sex Love and Social Media

Sex

Photo Credit: T. Anderson

By: Bernadette Orona

Less people want relationships while more people are looking to hook up. The trend to avoid serious relationships and commitment is increasing and this is largely contributed to the way social media has changed the way individuals interact.

I remember a time before everyone had a cell phone where we would hold long conversations on land lines, and write cute notes back and forth. There was opportunity to breathe while getting to know each other. Today technology has opened the doors to jealousy, commitment issues and the notorious hook up culture.

Social media allows individuals to document every second of their lives and for others to have access to that information too often leading to jealousy. One of 2000 people that commented on this issue said, “I think social media causes more insecurities between couples. For example seeing someone else in a picture with your significant other. Its easy for jealousy to arise.”  It arises questions like who is that, why are they with them, and why are they laughing, when it may actually mean absolutely nothing at all.

These same insecurities are what fuels commitment issues. Every time a relationship is questioned the possibility that the relationship will fail is presented. Therefore to avoid the possibility of failing and heartbreak relationships are avoided all together. Ben Sledge explained it in his blog as, “Even in the case of divorce and dating, we can’t imagine a few messy years of conflict to ultimately come out stronger, so we don’t commit. It’s the preemptive fail before the fail.” No one wants a relationship because they’re avoiding the break up.

No one commits to relationships, which in turn has produced the hook up culture. This has produced popular dating apps such as Tinder and OkCupid, applications created with this hook up culture in mind. Vanity Fair explains, “Dating apps are the free-market economy come to sex. The innovation of Tinder was the swipe—the flick of a finger on a picture, no more elaborate profiles necessary and no more fear of rejection; users only know whether they’ve been approved, never when they’ve been discarded.”

Thus creating a culture where sex is the goal and love is the enemy.

Left Out of the Spotlight

by Sam Metzler

After the recent Paris attacks that killed 120 people and injured hundreds more, people flocked to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other social media sites to voice their support for the victims. Now that Paris has suffered two major terror attacks this year, the first being Charlie Hebdo, France has declared a state of emergency and the anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant rhetoric has only grown stronger.

While what happened to these Parisians was tragic and my heart goes out to all the victims, it is interesting to note the support that rallied around Paris. France is one of the strongest nations in the world and one of the main countries that make up the Western world, it is no secret that France is one of the most well-known countries, and an attack like this will sends shock waves around the world, but not every country has the ability to do that.

Bex Taylor-Klaus

In lieu of the Paris attacks, American actress Bex Taylor-Klaus, known for her roles on The Killing and Arrow, sent out a tweet showing support for the Paris victims and mentioning and attack in Kenya that killed 147 people. Many others followed her footsteps and a link to a BBC article about the Kenya attack was posted. The only problem was that it was a article that dated back to April.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-32169080?SThisFB

Other than that, there was little coverage on the attack in Kenya and people quickly realized that it took seven month before people realized that.

This isn’t a one-off example, this has happened before. In fact, it happened right after the attacks on Charlie Hebdo, while many world leaders gathered to support those killed in the attack on the satirical newspaper. Around the same time, Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram attacked and killed 150 people in Nigeria, but there was little mention, except by Daily Show’s Trevor Noah, who was a correspondent on the show back then.

North America and Western Europe are pretty much the center of the Western World; most of the developed nations reside in these territories and we are all close allies. These nations are some of the most technologically advanced so it is easy to stay informed on their current situations. Many third world countries are left in the dust because they lack the resources that the Western world has, so it makes sense that we show our support for the Paris attacks and Charlie Hebdo and miss most of the attacks in other nations, barring #BringBackOurGirls.

I apologize if this sounds callous or in anyway demeans those who died in Paris on Friday. That was not my intention.

Source:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/arts-and-entertainment/wp/2015/11/15/among-social-medias-eiffel-towers-and-peace-signs-the-story-of-an-april-terrorist-attack-in-kenya/

Keep Calm and (open) Carry On

Photo from WFAA
Photo from WFAA

Stevie Lesko // @Stevie_Lesko // UNT JOUR 4270

A group of pro-open carry activists marched in protest Saturday on the Dallas Katy Trail, supporting their right to open carry.

Demonstrator Matthew Short made a harsh comparison to the recent attack on Paris and explained, “Dallas is not going to be Paris.”

“We are not going to have an environment where people can murder 150-plus people because the public is not armed,” Short continued. “We want the criminals to know that the public is armed and will take care of themselves.”

Demonstrators claimed that carrying a firearm would keep attacks from happening, but where will openly carrying really get us?

Trail jogger Loren Bassett has an opposing standpoint from the protestors. “I don’t think the problem is going to be resolved by everyone carrying a gun on the Katy Trail,” she said.

I am an avid cyclist and have had a similar debate with myself several times. Not only being alone out on roads, but being a woman alone out on roads, can be absolutely terrifying sometimes. I consider carrying my pocket knife in my saddle bag in the unfortunate event that I would need some form of physical defense, but my bike is my temple. It is my happy place and I do not want to feel like I have to carry a knife (or other form of physical defense other than myself, because let’s be real – I’m not that strong of a person) in order to feel safe.

But here’s a thought – what if we replaced irresponsibility, the lack of morals, and heartless acts with peace and trust? I know, that sounds crazy.  And unfortunately, it’s not looking like that will happen any time soon with controversies coming up about how great it would be to openly carry firearms on leisure walking trails.

The “Social Media Giant”‘s Response to the Recent Tragic Attacks

Emily McCormick

The tragic attacks made by ISIS in the past week have raised international support, especially through social media. Facebook easily provided temporary profile pictures for users to utilize in order to show support. Something I found interesting that I was unaware of previously is that Facebook has a security feature that allows people to inform their loved ones that they are safe in events such as these.

The article I chose to discus argues that the media has overlooked the attacks in Lebanon yet has exploded in love and support for Paris. The author points out that Facebook did not react to the attack on the people of Lebanon with security checks or profile picture options. This is an interesting statement to make because it raises the question of ‘how does Facebook determine what is an international crisis’? ‘is Facebook unconsciously suggesting that an event must be to a certain par of tragedy in order to acknowledge it’?

In my previous blogs, I have discussed social medias role in pop culture and current events. My prior research has led me to believe that it plays a hug role in public perception. Social media has the capability to reach around the entire globe in a matter of seconds with a message that cannot be taken back. With the terrorist attacks this idea has become very prevalent to me. The majority of my Facebook friends have altered their profile picture and shared their condolences online.

In conclusion, I believe that Facebook specifically is not intentionally overlooking the attacks in Lebanon but media as a whole did not cover the attacks as in depth as the attack on France. By taking a step back and observing the reactions, a productive dialogue can be created on the role of social media in these events of tragedy.