Internet phenomena are picky in who they latch onto, and their appetite is difficult to predict.
The viral meme culture is perhaps its own living entity in that regard. People have managed to not only share hilarious notions in creative and well packaged ways, but to also spread powerful ideas via quick but potent ways. As silly as it sounds, memes can propel people into stardom, sway the opinions of the masses, and even be used as concentrated weapons of ideological warfare.
Though you may have not thought about it much, being the subject of a popular meme would be a difficult thing to manage. Your neighbor’s camera can catch you wiping out on your icy driveway, only to make it to the internet captioned with a limitless combinations of hilarious notions. Your subtle reaction to being caught in the mix of two elderly women fist fighting over the last carton of milk at the store, can become the new, “My face when…” meme.
Have you thought about how you’d feel about being involuntarily selected as the pretense of other’s viral jokes? If that were to happen, the primary goal would first need to ensure of your health and safety. Publicity brings with it those who dig a little deeper than the rest, especially in the online realms.
After that, your pride may get involved. Not many enjoy being the butt of a joke, especially one that’s viral. If that joke has the potential to hurt your career, relationships, or business dealings, then attempting to control its reception can become important.
This article is an exercise, and simulation, of the reader being the subject of a viral meme. Though it may not happen to you in the public eye, the factors at play can be related to our day to day dealings too.
Your Acknowledgement and Enjoyment Makes Its Discovery Uninteresting
Viral memes grow by way of the desire for something we discover to humorously impress those we share the meme with. Our perceived social value raises when we share something relatable and funny with those in our social circle, or the world at large, that they didn’t yet know or hear about. Memes are therefore perceived as easy ways to garner attention to be used for a variety or reasons. Some people simply seek online validation, others use memes as part of convoluted social media marketing campaigns.
By acknowledging and enjoying a meme at our expense, it seems to lessen the enjoyment of someone sharing a yet undiscovered thing. The meme is no longer fully undiscovered, as the person at its source has acknowledged and enjoyed the attention. Though it may seem to be futile pursuit, it does well to alleviate the “passing notes under the desk” aspect of sharing humor.
Acknowledgement can come by way of many forms. You can enter a popular message board about your meme and expose yourself as the source of all the fun. Make your response add onto the enjoyment of those having fun with the meme, and don’t attack nor defend anything that is said at your expense. Accept the circumstance you’re in, and understand your likeness used in a viral meme to not personally represent who you are as a human being. Have fun.
People Don’t Like Those Who Benefit Without Putting in Hard Work
A viral meme at your expense can be an opportunity to plug your blog, your social media pages, or the product that you sell. Apart from the free attention you’d be exposed to, self promoting does well to encourage a meme to die down. Touching on similar aspects as acknowledging and enjoying the meme, you’d make involuntary marketers out of those who share the meme at your expense. After seeing you to be benefiting off the meme in question, people will second guess their decision to share it with their friends.
There seems to be a natural desire to silence others’ acts of free self promotion in the online medium. Attention is a rare commodity, with many yearning for a glimpse of the world from the perspective of those who garner all the attention. If you make those laughing at your expense feel as if they’re contributing to you benefiting from the attention that they show, a desire to put a stop to that attention will grow inside them.
Use the opportunity your virality provides to financially benefit from it. Along with potentially bringing more eyeballs onto yourself and whatever you decide to sell, you’d serve to wholesomely discourage people to continue laughing at your expense. They’ll perceive themselves aid you on your exploitation of the attention you’ve involuntarily garnered, and will be discouraged from participating any longer.
Accept, Utilize, Freeze
As a summary, the “accept, utilize, freeze” trifecta seems to be an effective way with dealing with viral memes at your expense. Your acknowledgement and enjoyment will do its part to declassify a meme, making its discovery a little less interesting. Your utilization of it to benefit yourself will discourage people to continue sharing it, as they’d have a natural disdain for those who self promote. As a result, you’ll hopefully do your part to freeze the virality of the meme in question without losing face in the public eye.
The meme about which this article is about can be replaced by a joke, a certain expose, or other “viral” information about you online or in real life. The methods of accepting, utilizing, and freezing, are flexible and adjustable to whatever popular notion about yourself you may want to put a stop to.