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The Power Of The Meme

May 17, 13 The Power Of The Meme

Memes, you gotta love ‘em, especially the drunken baby and angry cat memes; but memes can be dangerous. Because I’m a public personality, I’m all over social media on a daily basis like melting butter over fried chicken (don’t judge me). And like most of you, I see a lot of memes on my Facebook page. I typically love these tidbits that are usually humorous, sometimes thoughtful or thought provoking, and often hilarious; they help breakup my day of phone calls, writing, and in general, work.

But then there are the BS memes, put out there only to persuade you with no fact behind them whatsoever. Some are obvious crap that anyone with a third grade education, or the common sense of a salad bar, knows to ignore. Others are more deceptive and are often shared with good intentions and then these little bastards go viral. It then spreads like a two dollar whore, and the lies swell, and this can be dangerous, also like a two dollar whore.

I recently saw a meme about a politician (of which the details I won’t share as that’s not the point) that was created to spread fear and hatred. Hell, when I first read it, I became concerned. So, I invested the whole thirty seconds it takes to do a Google search and read a couple of paragraphs from legit sources, and found the meme was complete and utter bullshit. What’s worse is that more people weren’t doing what I did, taking a brief amount of time to research for the sake of truth. So, the lie spread.

Now, spreading lies to induce fear that can lead to hate or anger for needless selfish reasons isn’t right, but it isn’t new either; just the vessel the message is carried on, the meme, is new. What really concerns me is that memes seem to be accepted by mass amounts of people as automatic truth. They see two sentences with one picture, “like” it, share it, and then they move on to the next one.

This guy reads Carter Lee on redOrbit.com

This guy reads Carter Lee on redOrbit.com

But it just doesn’t stop there on social media. I overheard a conversation between two people at church the other day (and by church I mean the local bar) and one person stated this ludicrous comment to her friend. Her friend asked where she heard that, and she replied, “I saw it on a meme on Facebook.” Then her friend replied, “Oh shit, that is crazy news!”

Are you fucking kidding me?

At least when someone is fooled by BS news organizations, they are being fooled by a resource that’s under the moniker of “news”. But now we have people taking a picture with two sentences created by who the fuck knows as fact. If I had hair, I would be pulling it out. What’s extra annoying to me is that they were pronouncing meme, me-me.

So, what’s the solution to these people who seem to take memes as automatic truth? Well they can stop being stupid, but since that seems to be the issue, the only solution I see is to combat them; no, not with more memes; but by placing a link to facts debunking the bullshit meme on their post.

Now, of course, this shit will continue on, but one person can make a difference, and every little bit of truth out there helps. The other option is just ignoring it and moving on; I’m just too proactive for that route. I’m not suggesting we become some sort of “meme hunter” in the name of truth. Just when you see these bullshit posts, rather than ignoring them, take action and call them out, this may help in stopping a lie from spreading. If someone had done this on the aforementioned person’s post of that meme, then I wouldn’t have had to hear that ridiculous conversation. Although, it did give me a reason to have one more shot. I’m kidding; I never need a reason to do one more shot.

Featured Image Credit: sahua d / Shutterstock

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About 

Carter Lee is the author of When Jonathan Cried For Me, columnist of In That Moment of Space for the Washington Times Communities, a professional speaker, President of Innovative Social Dynamics, partner of Vera Wear, host of Carter Lee Presents the Fever, and manager of models (Carter’s Bombshells). To see all of his work visit http://www.thecarterlee.com, Twitter, and Facebook.

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