Tuesday, December 13, 2016 – Sociology 101- Memes and Emoticons

Tuesday, December 13, 2016 – Sociology 101- Memes and Emoticons

Good morning, Class,

Today is Sociology 101. We will be looking at two forms of so called communication. Memes and Emoticons. Spoiler alert: This is one of the HWIT where you think you know where it is going, but you do not.

What is a meme? An internet meme (/miːm/ MEEM) is defined as an activity, concept, catchphrase or piece of media which spreads, often as mimicry, from person to person via the Internet.

Meme sounds like something you call your grandmother. However, it usually involves a video of someone saying or doing something stupid, outrageous and often in a drunken or otherwise enhanced state of mind. It is then immediately and without thought posted to Facebook,Twitter, Instagram, Snap Chat or other social media. Think of it as STD – socially transmitted demonstration.

A meme is not to be confused with an emoticon. Aside from sounding like a laxative, here is a very fancy definition of emoticon to use at the next cocktail party, bar gathering or just to show off to strangers.

An emoticon is a metacommunicative pictorial representation of a facial expression which in the absence of body language and prosody serves to draw a receiver’s attention to the tenor or temper of a sender’s nominal verbal communication, changing and improving its interpretation. It expresses – often by means of punctuation marks – a person’s feelings or mood and can include numbers and letters, as well.

Allow me to translate some big words. Pictorial representation – a picture, somewhat cartoonish in nature. Metacommuncative – multiple means of communications that means different things to different people and to their brains and is dependent upon multiple factors such as current mood, emotional state of mind, alcohol intake, time of day/night, proper parental upbringing, and other social factors.

Prosody is a linguistic term (I like to say linguistic b/c it sound dirty, but isn’t) that means nonverbal cues. You do not hear what the person is saying.

Bottom line emoticons use those symbols and characters on a keyboard that are seldom used in normal communications or they are happy faces on steroids invented by the Japanese.

They all represent the transference of culture among people via technology. Reread that sentence remembering they mean “different things to different people and impact their brains in different ways and they are nonverbal.” Which part of communication am I missing?

In either case I do not use memes or emoticons because I have no idea what the hell they mean. I have no idea what you are saying to me when you use one. I am not learning these hieroglyphics that are device independent and often differ from social media to social media.

For example – do you know what this symbol means? (@_@)

It means socked or confused. http://www.symbols.com/symbol/1149

It is also the look in my eyes every morning to a new cabinet post. What is the meme or emoticon for FUBAR?

Class dismissed.


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