Memes are multimodal signs in which images and texts are combined (Varis & Blommaert, 2015: 8). Due to its visibility, recognisability and multimodality, together with the fact that it is easy to create, a meme is able to shape and spread a socially constructed public discourse (Shifman, 2014: 4).
What is a meme?
Shifman refers to memes as socially constructed public discourses by which different voices and perspectives can be represented (Shifman, 2014: 9). The internet is a meeting place where different memes, which are basically venues for expressing opinions, can be displayed (Shifman, 2014: 149-150).
Memes can thus be understood “a group of digital items sharing common characteristics of content, form; created with awareness of each other; circulated, imitated and transformed via the internet by many” (Phillips, 2016).
Shifman, L. (2014): Memes in Digital Culture. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.
Varis, P. & Blommaert, J. (2015): ‘Convivality and collectives on social media: Virality, memes and new social structures’, in: Multilingual Margins 2(1), 31-45.