Social media is tool or in some cases a weapon to manipulate a reaction from people to support social policy. A quite effective tool at that. The most effective and caustic weapon on social media is the meme.
The definition for most people is that a meme is an internet anecdote passed along for humorous reasons. I enjoy them as much as the next person. However, over the past few years. political parties and hate groups have decided to redefine the meme as follows:
An element of a culture or system of behavior that may be considered to be passed from one individual to another by non-genetic means, especially imitation.
Here is the problem. We are predisposed to opinions based on emotional reactions we have because of past experiences in our lives. There is a way to tap into those experience through sight and sound. Similar to PTSD, we store negative images due to life changing events stored in our mind. We react to similar image that remind us of traumatic events. Memes can manipulate a reaction to past events. For example, if you feel somehow slighted by the loss of someone you loved, you react to someone else pain and suffering. However, if you place blame on another individual or organization for that loss, you will react to larger life changing events in a negative way.
Believe it or not, we can tap into past experiences in unique ways that we never consider. For example, social media exposes our weakness to sarcasm, hate, and subconscious meanings without us realizing the harm it can cause. We respond to our individual weakness over an individual strength of human potential. In a sense, we love to see people fail due to our own choices in life. This is quite dangerous for any society.
The meme is here to stay. Ungoverned, it can cause more harm than good. Beware the social meme.
Lenny Giardino is a father of four wonderful children and lives in Upstate New York. He is an educational leader and has worked with many diverse populations of people throughout his career. He currently works as an Early Childhood Director for Upstate Cerebral Palsy. Another passion he is actively involved in is Fatherhood Advocacy. He supports and works with dads to keep them engaged in their child’s life.Click here for reuse options!
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