What do you look for when sharing a meme?

This question is geared towards repost centric meme page admins. Beyond the obvious like “this will get shares” or “this thematically fits my page”, what makes you think “this deserves to be shared”?

I see dozens of memes a day (if not more.) Only a handful usually produce a response out of me mentally. By that I mean make me laugh, think, or I find otherwise compelling. I figure if I am moved by it, others might be too.

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It boils down to personal preferences with a bit of quality control imo. There are pages having downgraded to sharing political quarrels, and others fixing just some tiny details of their supplies to fit with some certain narrative. In a wider term, this should apply to any content the page admin deems worthy. They can share anything without needing certain guidelines beyond the "don't sacrifice the quality too much".

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I take a lot of things into account, including the aesthetic value of the meme itself, what kinds of people the meme will attract to the post, how suitable it is to the theme of the page, whether it's the sort of meme I want to see more variants of (sharing a meme encourages people to make OC using it), how big the other memepage is (it might be disruptive for me to share something from a tiny page), etc.

This is an extremely interesting question and I am gonna have to come back to it with a more thought out response.

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It depends on who I am sharing it with, first and foremost. It needs to "speak" to whoever I am sending it to. I do not really have a meme page at the moment but here are some criteria for my chats :

  • Creating debate within the group chat is interesting
  • Mentioning French or international politics partially as a means of information and almost of analysis also speaks to the group. In this regard, I am often sending informative posts such as maps or infographics
  • I would say "avant-garde memes", that memes that are both trending and subverted are of interest
  • It would depend on what we have been discussing IRL too
  • Sometimes we would fully assume that we are sharing "he just like me fr" or sending something and identifying a group member as depicted on the picture, sometimes in a poorly written way since we know it sounds silly and almost outdated
  • I would also value the effort that has been put into a meme, as if making memes was some sort of a sport as well as a craftsmanship.
  • When messaging my girlfriend, overwhelmingly pictures of animals and relationship stuff (including failures) or awkward moments would be sent. I would also send her art or horny stuff.
  • Our Discord server is also basically an archive and when something comes up it can fall within one of its categories. Sending something within a category would also be part of the joke, since we have chats called "#France-nightmare" or "#France-paradise". We also have "purgatory", "hell" and "heaven" subcategories. Obviously, #hornyposting and #susposting go to hell.

Hope that this contributes something. Using this term of "speaking" to someone is interesting considering memes as a form of language (with a speaker and a listener), but also as a description of different level of receptiveness to certain meme categories.

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Ah that is a great list! Group chats have to be optimised for comfiness and so the memes can be a lot more subtle (lower rate of misunderstanding; higher effectiveness of realigning understandings should a misinterpretation occur), as well as less subtle (the meme doesn't have to do nearly as much of the work in communicating whatever subtle meaning you want to get across when you know each other well).

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I have a counter question: How are the motivations different between sharing meme digital items vs. other digital items? Are they different at all?

As for the actual question posed: It depends on the audience I want to share it with and my initial reaction to the meme.

Usually I have an initial response to the meme (a thought, a laugh, existential crisis, etc.) If the reaction is especially strong then I think "who do I share this with?" and filter appropriately using the characteristics and interests of my friends. I may also see a meme that does not resonate as much with me but may resonate with a friend (this is less common). These memes are usually sent in private messages.

If the meme resonates more personally with myself (describes me, provokes thought, aligns with my viewpoint) I will typically share it to the social media page of whatever site I prefer that day. I usually add a caption adding my own unique take or implying how it relates to me.

I found in my own local research that those around me reacted/shared similarly with small variations. In the future, I'd like to do what I call "browsing studies" where users of memes are recorded browsing their favorite sites/meme finding spaces on the internet and record their browsing sessions with a follow up interview. However, still exploring the ethics/feasibility of this.

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