The following is taken from my article for the latest edition of iScot Magazine. The magazine is a truly worthwhile project. We really need independent media in Scotland. Please support iScot by subscribing and/or donating.
Mention the word ‘meme’ and it’s likely that the majority of people will immediately think of amusing or otherwise striking stuff on the web. Commonly, internet memes are captioned images which make some sort of social or political point, often using ironic or surreal humour. Although the term has also come to encompass any audio-visual content which achieves extraordinary popularity and/or exceptionally wide distribution by an organic process.
We are all familiar with memes. It’s safe to make such a generalisation because memes are so ubiquitous. They’re everywhere. Like the biological “bugs” they are analogous to, they multiply and spread. Even if you’ve never used a computer or a smart-phone or any kind of connected device and don’t know your Twitter from your WhatsApp, it’s all but certain you’ve encountered memes as they tend to leach into the wider culture through the media and even by way of everyday conversation. We swim in a sea of memes. Even if you have never seen an internet meme, you will surely have encountered a reference to one. In which case, you’re infected.