The meme I have created is one featuring James Dean for the James Dean fandom or Classic/Old Hollywood fandom. This meme works as a combination of a joke and a motivational picture. It works as a joke because the tagline “You Should Be Studying” is most likely a true statement for the audience it is meant for, as they are probably scrolling through their fandoms social media outlet- Tumblr, Twitter or Instagram and are neglecting their studies (or other duties that they are supposed to be attending to) and a picture of their idol referencing this neglect may (or may not) help them realise they are procrastinating.
The audience this meme is directed to is fellow James Dean lovers and even the Classic/Old Hollywood and Hollywood Golden Age fandom- one that is surprisingly large in numbers. They would appreciate the irony and meaning behind this meme as they understand the love and fascination one feels toward their idol and how hard it is to tear yourself away from indulging in content about them- especially on sites like Tumblr where there is a constant flow of such content.
I wouldn’t say this meme requires specialized knowledge other than the knowledge of who James Dean is and what he looks like. This meme references the fangirl tendencies of those who use sites such as Tumblr and Twitter where memes of this kind can mostly be found. It highlights the tendency to continuously scroll and indulge in James Dean or Classic Hollywood content and the comfort and fun in interacting with fellow fans on these sites as you become friends and bond over your love of your fandom thus neglecting your studies or responsibilities. It references the attractiveness of our idol, James Dean, and our love for him and the meme uses him and his expression as a way of telling us to give our obsession a break and go study – almost saying he knows we’re neglecting our real life responsibilities to indulge in content about him.
The intertextuality of this meme references the fangirl behaviour that is especially present today, more than ever before, because of digital culture. It builds on other memes that have been floating around the fandom and fangirl circuit that use pictures of male idols/crushes with the same tagline – reminding fangirls that they should be studying. Idexically the picture of the male crush changes for each fandom but the tagline and message says the same thus making its templatability simple: different picture (content) suited to each fan or fandom with the same message. All in all I did build existing memes created by fangirls and suited its content for the James Dean and Classic Hollywood fandom. It connects to others with its similar meaning and tone but differs in its reference which is suited to each fandom.
This idea came to me instantly and I ran with it. I knew which picture of Jimmy I was going to use from the get go and the tagline. Having run a One Direction and The Wanted fan account on Twitter and Tumblr I have seen many similar memes using each of the band members and the whole band numerous times and that is what inspired me to create a similar James Dean meme as I have not come across one of those yet (simply because his fans are much more mature). I followed the meme generator link posted on the Sakai assignment page and followed the steps to creating the meme, which were much simpler than I expected, and voila – here it is.
The meme that I chose to deconstruct today is “Condescending Wonka” highlighting the issue of “online confidence”. I chose this meme because it is culturally relevant about the social interactions observed today both online and in person between individuals. The meme addresses the issue of those individuals who are snarky and mean online and believe they are being witty and in person are the opposite. They have the confidence behind a computer screen and the safety of being online but in person lack that confidence – which the sarcasm of the meme highlights. It positions me as a reader within a larger community of one who understands the type of behaviour being referenced, having seen it online, and the outcome of this behaviour once the individual is away from their safety net of the computer. This community is the new generation today of avid internet users who are present on many different internet sites and experience this behaviour from users; this community may not only include teenagers and young adults but also older adults who are internet savvy and spend a lot of time online. Those working in media and marketing may also have no choice to become familiar with the trends of the internet to use them to their advantage. The meme is using sarcasm and condescension to, ironically, address the same behaviour that users take part in online but are unable to translate that confidence into their everyday interactions in the real world. It I s addressing the issue of how many individuals take liberties online that they wouldn’t in the real world because they have that safety of anonymity and control online while in person they do not; it is highlights the problem of deteriorating self-confidence in people today as they use the internet as a substitute form of a somewhat smoke and mirrors type of confidence. Condescending Wonka’s point of reference is the witty and sometimes condescending manner of Gene Wilder’s portrayal of Willy Wonka in the original 1971 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Its indexicality and templatability would be the tone and image used for the meme which allows for many other situations to be sarcastically referenced and work with the overall structure of the meme. This meme would be a cultural artifact as it captures the silly behaviour and attitudes that are running rampant in our society today – be it online or in the real world – and addresses how some members of society find it to be embarrassing and ridiculous. This specific meme in particular will highlight the mean behaviour of individuals online who can’t translate that ‘confidence’ into their real lives in the everyday world.
Participation online has become second nature to users of all kind with the new generation of the internet and worldwide web – Web 2.0. The regular users of the internet are familiar with the various internet sites that require daily and constant participation such as Facebook, Twitter, blogging sites etc, while others may simply use e-mail accounts as their modes of participation in online culture. Then there is the gamer culture – the online gaming sites which require users to participate and directly interact with other gamers online.
Within contemporary digital culture I have noticed it has become necessary to be a participant online for various reasons – to create an online presence to promote businesses/yourself, to keep up to date on the world and in contact with others and even to increase business by establishing the option to shop online for your business. My take on participatory digital culture today is that of a double life. We basically have our online presence/lives where we follow and participate with those that we choose to on the various social media sites and then our real lives with the people we interact with on a daily basis. Career networking and opportunities have turned participatory also with the establishment of the LinkedIn site where one has to join and update their account regularly so that they will show up when searched by potential employers and coworkers to find them. Today’s digital culture has made “on the go” or “from your home” participation that much easier so that we never miss a thing that is happening in our online lives and can participate right from our phones, tablets and even now straight from our television sets.
With the gamer culture online and constantly interacting with numerous people from around the world while playing these games and building teams, gamers form friendships with these ‘virtual’ beings and I have known people who have formed real life in person friendships with gamers who live in other cities. I have a friend from Hamilton who became really good friends with another gamer in Halifax, who I in turn became really good friends with. It is quite amazing how life events like that can happen. I met one of my best friends from my fan account on twitter, she lives in Florida, and she found my twitter account through my tweets and started replying to them because she liked what I posted. From that we started talking and got to know each other and realised we were basically like long lost sisters. Participatory culture- improving our networks and friendships and making the phrase ‘global village’ more relevant day by day.
I am very much a participant online. I am on all the main social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram – with my own YouTube account also. I run two Tumblr blogs and about 3 different Twitter accounts which I update frequently. Responding to tweets, commenting and blogs can make a difference if used correctly and this type of participation is something I believe in. For example this type of participation is mostly used in the entertainment industry where producers, writers and directors use Twitter and Facebook to poll their audiences about what they like and want to see; it is also how the celebrities keep in touch with their fans and learn the same thing. This is how users/audiences can have an impact on their favourite show or with their favourite celebrity.
I measure participation by how frequently a user uses their account to tweet, posts online or comment on online content – in my opinion that determines how dedicated they are to the account they have created. I believe participation online can be a bit too emancipatory with some users using the possible anonymity to be hostile and rude online. Some users do abuse the online forum by being hateful online without reason.
Tradeoffs to participation online could be seen as simply creating accounts and observing the other user activity taking place with minimal or no interaction (participation) with them or the content being shared. These would be the Facebook accounts that you forget you are friends with because they never post or participate on Facebook, the Tumblr accounts that follow you but there is no activity and the Twitter accounts that follow you but never tweet anything of their own.
Techno trash and the lightbulb conspiracy are two issues that are not being given enough media attention and, therefore, public concern in society today. Collectively as a society, we have been brainwashed by advances in technology into believing that the newest innovation is “bigger and better” – or as is usually the case – more portable, thinner, lighter, faster and more user friendly. Personal technologies are not personal, or atleast haven’t been since the 2nd or 3rd generation of innovations and the increased influx of old technologies into landfills. Our materialistic consumer choices have much larger chain effect consequences than we care to stop and think about as we are too focused on how amazing this new $800 piece of plastic and chip will be.
Planned obsolescence, or the lightbulb conspiracy, is a method started in the 1920s by manufacturer’s to shorten the lives of products in order to increase the frequency of demand for them. All in all, it is consumerism as society has become a growth economy where we live to buy and own the newest, shiniest innovation on the technological market in order to part of the craze and “up to date.” This is even truer in society today, even though that 8-track was totally awesome, with the latest generation in phones and other devices. The latest number and letter in iPhones, Samsung Galaxies, HTC’s, iPods, iPads etc is all a marketing and economic ploy to make us believe the iPhone 6GS will be the ‘the phone that makes life and connecting with loved ones as easy as can be.’ Apple’s planned obsolescence had one of its most telling moments with the introduction of the iPhone 5 when the hype around its latest innovation revealed to be only because of finger recognition and a longer screen – there was a lot of disbelief and consumer’s seemed to be smart for only 5 minutes as they realised this new $700 phone was not worth feeling like an FBI agent with fingerprint scanning and having an unnecessarily longer screen (as if it isn’t hard to fit into our pockets already!). The way Apple seemed to recover from this almost public revolution was to introduce the 5S and 5C, basically the same phone but in different colours – so once again, wave something shiny in front of the public and they shall buy!
I’m sure we’ve all stopped to think about what this means for the environment – when we continuously are replacing old technologies with new ones – if you haven’t then… tsk tsk. Our use, disuse and disposal over the years has led to special drop off plants being implemented specifically for old technologies. The environmental devastation caused by this technological hyper consumption is causing even more progressive landfill and toxic damage on the eco system, not to mention the damage caused when individuals can’t be bothered to make the trip to the special drop off stations and dump their old technologies into their regular waste. That is the other problem with society today, some can’t be bothered to make this special trip after the clutter and annoyance of living around that drawer of old phones and mp3 players gets annoying and they simply throw it away with everything else. Recycling outdated technologies is a very good practice but is it possible to truly recycle the billions of old technologies? What happens to those that aren’t and what does that mean for the environment? A plan and concern needs to be given attention to this before we move into the double digits of new technology innovations or else we are killing our environment even faster than we think.
I first went online when we got our first computer in 2002 and I created my first email address. Luckily, I may have been the only 9 year who made a normal e-mail id at the time: firstname.lastname@example.org. When my mom and I both created our first e-mail addresses, she then showed me how to send an email and I was so confused at how it all worked. I didn’t believe it was instant and over a “computer” or a ‘network”, I didn’t understand how it worked – I thought it had to be printed out and mailed. Most of my early years were spent playing dress up games online or on msn or yahoo. I wasn’t allowed to chat on MSN messenger until I was in grade 7 and even then I was heavily monitored by my mom. A year or two later, I believe, I joined Hi5, the IT (at the time) social site before Facebook. I was very much an avid user of its fives and widgets and personalising your page – mine had Cinderella and Ariel on it, I miss that. In 2007, I received a friend request to join Facebook, I did and tried to understand it but I couldn’t, so I rejected it for Hi5 until early 2009. This was the year I also joined twitter. Around this time I also discovered Youtube. I was late to the Tumblr and Instagram game. When I did join Tumblr in 2011, it wasn’t long before I upgraded it to my own produser account. I joined Instagram mainly to keep up with my favourite celebs. Now I use the web 24/7 to binge watch tv and movies and keeping up with music. It’s constantly enabling my pop culture junkie side, my shopaholic tendencies and research on topics I’m interested in.