Memes have been a huge trend within the last few years on social media. Memes create funny and/or meaningful captioned pictures that viewers can share.
According to Shifman, “These paths can be thought of as meme genres. Defined as ‘socially recognized types of communicative action,’ genres share not only structures and stylistic features, but also themes, topics, and intended audiences.”
Limor Shifman is the author of Meme Genre and she studies new media. As Shifman stated, these meme genres are for one to share with others to get a reaction from a specific audience. One has to have knowledge of what a meme is and what the meme displays in order for them to understand the content. For example, if you showed a friend a meme of a certain TV show but the friend has never seen that TV show, then they will most likely not understand what the meme is about. In this genre, the audience needs to be informed and educated on the topic to understand it.
Shifman states, “As public discourse, meme genres play an important role in the construction of group identity and social boundaries. Ryan Milner shows that while technically meme creation is becoming increasingly easy– specialized websites offer templates that even a six-year-old can operate– creating and understanding memes requires sophisticated ‘meme literacy.’ In what follows, I assert that different meme genres involve different levels of literacy: some can be understood (and created) by almost anyone, whereas others require detailed knowledge about a digital meme subculture.”
This genre requires a previous background knowledge of the topic that is being shared. However, like Shifman states, it is generally easy to create a meme and share it with others if one is aware and educated on the topic that they are creating them meme about.