Almost every one of us has heard some version of this: technology ruins the sanctity of relationships, friendships that are formed through the internet are not realdigital communication and social networking have spoiled which means communicating with other people. Millennials and Generation Z members constantly criticized for failing to put down phones and connect with people through personal communication.
There is some truth in the idea that people our age spend an excessive amount of time looking at screens. Studies show that the Zers generation can almost spend nine hours a day interaction with technology. But in an increasingly digital and globally connected world, it is almost impossible to avoid spending time online, whether for academic, professional or social reasons. Needless to say, my generation just celebrated our bicentennial anniversary visits Zoom University.
As a result, young people have created spaces on the Internet for interactive freedom. Digital self-expression has become the new, sixth language of intimate love – and memes are at the forefront of this modern form of communication.
Variety definitions because the word “meme” circulates on the web, but it is usually defined as an Internet image that reflects some social or cultural comment. Memes can convey niche jokes as much as they reflect relations of the peopletalk to our personal values and allow us to do so approaches current events on the more accessible side. There are many types of memes that touch on different facets of viewer humor: the use of irony in memes such as popular ”female attraction to“Posts that allow women to ridicule behaviors related to gender constructs may appeal to those who find humor in the absurdity of social norms. In addition, pastoral memes go beyond the use of irony and give consumers simpler comments about the state of the world. With many different approaches to humor as well as visual layouts, memes explore different aspects of our culture in a way that includes anyone’s imagination of what’s funny or related.
But what is not conveyed in most definitions of this term is the bridge that these simple, sometimes silly pictures create between people who share similar brands of humor.
My direct posts on Instagram consist of three different conversations: one with my roommate, one with my best friend from home and the other with one of my closest friends in college. Images and drums fill each exchange, with the dry humor of existential clips from Onions on relevant messages from college-oriented accounts. Words are rarely sent, the exception being reactions to videos taken from TikTok or new scene options from Euphoria second season. Every post they send speaks to the other side of my unique sense of humor expressed by the people closest to me in real life.
Despite my DM, I actually limit myself quite strictly in the world of social media. I only use Instagram regularly and mostly use Snapchat to see private stories. I don’t have TikTok or Twitter, so my familiarity with current trends and digital content is limited to what I find by scrolling through the Explore page on Instagram. I am very attentive to the social networks I use and to their goals in my life, which is why I take the time to explore certain platforms. I choose interacting with Instagram because it gives me content that captures my sense of humor while strengthening the bonds of my relationship, including between me and my roommate with whom I interact every day.
My roommate is one of my best friends on the planet. Having lived together for almost two years in the room, we are fully attuned to each other’s relationships and features. On Michigan Marriage Pact, we got a bright 99.8% membership, each of us put humor as a very important factor in the relationship. We almost constantly write to each other content on Instagram, each of us knows exactly what will make the other smile. We laugh, talk, make fun of each other, not even having to be on the same phone call, let alone one room.
Instagram is also a major form of contact between me and my high school friend; although we rarely write texts, publications that we share about cute animals and “alpha female”Keep us in touch and ignite the most interesting conversations through the text or at the next face-to-face meeting.
Every time I get DM from these people, I feel even more connected to them, especially when they touch on aspects of my thoughts or identity in ways I never knew possible: through single static images taken by strangers online . I hardly thought the memes would be diverse enough to fit my humor just when they would first appeared onlineor that they will be used to maintain my connections with those I love. The fact that my loved ones choose messages from the endless technological abyss of social networks and send them to me in the hope that I will like them makes me feel valued and understood.
I still often talk to all these friends in person when we are together. Sharing digital content has not replaced our personal friendships, but simply complements them with small moments of laughter or quirks every day when we are miles apart.
In my experience, sending content that doesn’t match another person’s humor is also a great indicator of a lack personal compatibility. Unsuccessful attempts at humorous discourse through conversations with former meme-based partners have become extraordinary red flags in my relationship with them. Although this was not the main reason for the termination of our relationship, the subtle rupture of communication in our attempt to share memes seemed to indicate a clash between us individuals. Our inability to convey our thoughts and joke in the same way was, frankly, very revealing.
Perhaps this is because memes reflect those who send them, and their choice of content shows how well they really know us. When they understand this correctly, it makes us more grateful for their attention and evokes love in ourselves – a reciprocal exchange similar to what the well-known communicates. “love languages‘.
The idea of personal languages of love became a staple in mass culture. They help people identify and reflect on what they need to connect with someone in a relationship. Five central languages of love – words of affirmation, quality time, physical touch, service and gifts – no completely final human psychology. However, they open the door to talk about how people express their concern for another person and what they want in return.
However, I would argue that Generation Z has stumbled upon the sixth language of love, and it has the form of a message on Instagram and is like a virtual hug. Memes and other virtual expressions of humor are pictures of our relationship in real life, translated into random digitized social comments. This is a manifestation of humor – one of the easiest ways to convey your commitment, signal of attention and recognition through images on the screen. It is a simple manifestation of the spirit of the languages of love, which promotes the growth of relationships between two people. For many people, humor is about a vital component any relationship. While some people may prefer this sense of humor more than others, the opportunity to engage in inner jokes and genuine enjoyment of shared content can directly to strengthen connections between people.
Moreover, these significant connections that promote the Internet surpass only individual relationships. Memes with their humorous and often unpleasant view of modern life allow people to connect with groups of common identities even in the most difficult circumstances. And these communities are being formed right here, in the social digital space of our university.
Accounts like @umichaffirmations promote on-campus communications – we can all appreciate them niche comments about UM’s student life as we experience it in real time. Especially in the context of COVID-19, virtual updates from popular student meme accounts made me feel like a real Wolverine – even if they were just a creative rethinking of my turbulent circumstances through ironic commentary on campus health policy.
Most critics of the use of technology are older people use technology less often than those of us who grew up when it was evolving. Many Generations X and Boomers just don’t understand the power of digital communication that these generations tend to follow privacy and security as central values. Although these generations enjoy different functions of the Internet, social networks were something they adopted later in life, and this fact could create more reservations about sharing information or photos of yourself online.
Meanwhile, we, the Zer and Millennials generation, have learned to appreciate this more connecting and information exchange the benefits of the Internet, a difference that is largely shaped by the social atmosphere of our time.
However, interest in communicating with loved ones should hardly be completely isolated to certain age groups. Although, of course, there is risks associated with too much use of technology, ability increase strength relationships are an invaluable gift that should not be underestimated. One post to a friend, partner, or family member is a strong expression of one person’s love for another.
Communication over the Internet is so often characterized as superficial, devoid of depth and intimacy. But in fact behind the Internet exchanges with people close to us lies extraordinary eloquence and clarity. The remedy is a little more amazing than some people might expect, but when a person knows your mind so fully as to complement its online content, you feel that you are noticed, understood and appreciated. And for me, that feeling forms the basis of any meaningful relationship, making sharing memes a favorite sixth language of love.
You can contact Sarah Stolar’s correspondent at firstname.lastname@example.org.