Our Memes, Our Memories
Photo by Paulette Wooten on Unsplash
Ever catch yourself revisiting the same memory each time you hear a song? That’s no accident because when people listen to music, it triggers the parts of the brain that are linked to memories and emotions. A memory is a moment in time, captured in inscrutable signals from firing synapses. Neuroscientists are yet to map the complex dynamics of brain networks and the way music affects us. However, memories are no longer relegated to the recesses of our brains, now that we have let technology curate our favorite moments for us.
While a garden of sound is a great metaphor for reminiscence, these days our “feed” of memories live on social media. Instead of cassette tapes, they bear messages, comments, photos, and videos from bygone days. So in the era of social media feeds and selfies, are there any nostalgic artifacts left to cherish? Social media scholars believe that digital culture is borne in the internet memes that we share and create. An internet meme is a piece of media that spreads rapidly through the internet. They often constitute a comment, satire, or express an emotion, and they spread through imitation from person to person. Memes represent a culture, a phenomenon, or a theme – in fact, memes are the cultural artifact of the social media age. They have even been used to mobilize people for political and social causes. Irrespective of the greater cause, memes are loved by social media communities because they are humorous, reliable, and relatable AF. Like the physical artifacts of yore, they can capture a particular idea, embedded in a specific social context. With each passing epoch, memes are recycled, remixed, and reinterpreted into timeless art that reflects the same origin story.