Monday, October 6, 2008

Meme Talk

Hey Everyone,

I was finishing up our book and I wanted to briefly talk about memes. As defined in our book memes are “contagious patterns of cultural information that are passed on from mind to mind and directly shape and propagate key actions and mindsets of a social group (Lankshear & Knobel, 2006).” What I thought was interesting about memes is how they involve being an insider. Individuals will not understand a meme’s humor or purpose if they are an outsider.
Most memes are also spread through the internet or in affinity spaces. It is the idea of an interactive community sharing ideas and thoughts.

Some of the memes discussed in the book I thought were interesting. I particularly found the ‘Niki Sweatshop Shoe’ meme to be hysterically. I also really liked The Dog Poop Girl meme. I could not believe the woman was identified online and was forced to apologize. However, I found the Nevada meme to be very disturbing. Which ones did you like?

I realize it is important to understand the features of memes that make them successful. A meme is meant to be absurd and humorous. A meme can also have satiric humor and social commentary. There all types of memes that relate to different people. In order to be a lasting meme, the book stresses the importance of fidelity, fecundity, and longevity.

However, I think it is necessary to discuss how memes can be used in the classroom. The book argues that a meme is part of language and literacy. To further make this point literacy was remixed, similarly to how D/discourse was. The ‘small l’ in literacy is defined as the process of reading the meme or making a meme, which overall entails strong technical skills. The ‘big L’ in literacy is associated with the meaning of the meme and the social significance (Lankshear & Knobel, 2006). As with remixing, memes involve participation and the sharing of ideas. Would you have students view memes or participate in making memes to discuss a point?

Finally, in order to be able to use memes in a classroom the teacher needs to know how to use affinity spaces. It is important to be aware of viruses and scams. I agree it is also essential to explore the internet and take risks. I think by taking this class, we are gaining a better understanding of how to use new literacies in the classroom and what to be wary of.

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