It is an ongoing practice among students to make memes about their peers. In fact, as a leading expert in memes in my college, I have created a large number of memes of my batch-mates. It was only a matter of time before the tables were turned on me.

One morning, a couple of months ago, I had taken a bath just before going to class. My hair (which is somewhat long) was damp, and it looks very awkward when I do a back-brush. As a result, my friends were laughing at me. During this exchange, at one point of time, one of my closest friends, Diptanil Roy, clicked a photo of me (the featured photo for this post), which was very soon circulated on WhatsApp with the caption:

IMG-20160303-WA0000

Despite the poor grammar, he kicked off a chain reaction in which this photo soon became an accepted reaction when confusion is to be conveyed. Many variations of this were spawned (a few created even by myself). Eventually, the very first one found its way up to 9GAG, thanks to another close friend, Bibhabasu Patra.

An interesting feature that meme (which is a Reaction Meme) is that the context of this meme was created entirely artificially. The expression on my face was created completely by chance, and at that point of time, had nothing to do with confusion. However, lucky photographs like this have led to a large number of memes such as Nicolas Cage’s You Don’t Say? and Obama’s Not Bad faces. The Persian Cat Room Guardian, mentioned in my previous post, also serves as a kind of reaction meme, since it has a facial element.

Reaction memes perhaps make up the largest class of memes. From photographs of random people taken at the appropriate time, to shots of celebrities on the TV and silver screen, to crudely drawn but highly appealing rage comics: wherever we need to express an emotion in reaction to something, we often resort to a reaction meme, because a picture is worth a thousand words. I don’t know what Facebook had initially envisioned as the intended use of the Photo-comment option, but it is undoubtedly the best place to come across, or use, reaction memes.

But why use a reaction meme? A long used method of communicating emotion has been to use emoticons. The reason why memes appeal to many as a mode of reaction, are, in my opinion, as follows:

  1. Just like emoticons, memes such as Nick Cage’s Reaction series have an almost universal renown.
  2. What emoticons lack grossly, memes provide in plenty: humor. There is always a chance that a well constructed meme will provide some entertainment, even if it is created as a reaction. On the other hand, I don’t think anyone has ever felt amused looking at a 😀 or a lol.
  3. A huge variety of memes is available online, and a large number of online resources allow you to create memes easily. Thus, you can very quickly construct a meme to fit your exact reaction, just right.

There are, however, certain drawbacks to using reaction memes as well.

  1. Some memes, especially those with a smaller outreach, may not be readily recognised by everyone. Many memes are only only pertinent to a certain group and using it elsewhere may not convey the correct emotion.
  2. It is not always easy to select the right meme. As mentioned before, using the wrong meme often leads to very anticlimactic effects and undesirable result. Remember: if a joke needs to be explained, it fails as a joke, and the same goes for a meme.

Before signing off for today, I’d like to say a few things:

  • The Follow button has been added to the home page, thanks to my buddy Gaurish Korpal. Do him a favor by visiting his blog as well, at gaurish4math.wordpress.com.
  • I have almost zero experience running a blog, so I would really appreciate comments from my readers.
  • If you like this blog, kindly spread the word about it.
  • Due to my tight schedule, I may not be able to post regularly. I’ll try to make larger and more substantial posts during weekends.
  • Although this blog is called The Science of Memes, I intend to post other content as well, perhaps small (but significant) events out of my life, maybe a new aqcuisition, or a book/movie/game review. I will try not to digress a lot, but I hope my readers will not find such posts objectionable.
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