I recommend your read this article yourself as this thread is meant to discuss the larger implications of this research
You can find the article here:https://donotresearch.net/posts/how-to-plant-a-meme
I find this article very interesting for several reasons and think that this provides great evidence of memes as a tool to shape societies and group opinion.
It shows, in my opinion, that memes are not only socially descriptive (describing values of a group through in-jokes and humor), but also socially constructive (the types of memes produced by a community reinforces their identity). By introducing new ideas and references into the group conscious as Citarella did the beliefs of the group are also changed.
The use of memes in order to influence group thought is well known by now, but I think the idea of memes as constructive to a group is important to recognize and study further.
think this idea of memes as a constructive and descriptive force could be fleshed out a bit and if there's something more comprehensive that's been done then let me know. Other than that if you have any media that relates to this idea feel free to share!
"These private spaces are where radical ideas are really shaped. Users will casually throw around exaggerated opinions to gauge their peers' reactions. This form of pseudo-ironic banter is a way to calibrate individual and collective positions. It helps to build a sense of shared reality and establish an overarching narrative frame. This can only happen within high-trust groups that have proven themselves over time."
This is a really interesting point: I'd imagine the use of irony as an acceptance test while introducing ideas into an echo chamber is quite common these days. I see a similar tactic used often with heavily debated opinions (e.g, Dark Souls 2 is bad/Dark Souls 2 is good) to the point where the public consensus in these groups is an absolute mystery.
Something the creator deems accurate or inaccurate can be portrayed as either ironic or sincere, which adds a layer of complexity that wasn't there before. It forms a kind of alignment chart between these two axes, which makes the author's real opinion of the topic entirely inscrutable. With that being the case, the popularity of the topic ought to be the main determining factor of its acceptance into the zeitgeist, which opens groups up to the manipulation demonstrated by the author.