For a decade, memes have hijacked news and culture for comic ends. They are on social networks: Facebook, Instagram, TikTok… And the followers are millennials and Generation Z. This is a trend that is not about to fade.
The culture of the meme is synonymous with the counterculture of the Internet age. It’s taken the world by storm since the first viral image in 1996. Millennials and Gen Z are the ones who spend the most time viewing memes. According to statistics from YPulse, a leader in youth research in the United States, 50% of Gen Z follow memes accounts. And 65% of them connect to social media to consume entertaining content. It’s a large audience, who relax through these visual jokes.
In Mauritius, the scenario is not that different. The meme made its way there. Most memes are about politics, the environment, and the social. They punctuate the daily life of thousands of young Mauritians.
Hâdiyya Goolfee, 20, has been a fan of memes since she bought her first phone in 2013. This young woman explains that memes are part of everyday life for young people and are a way of communicating ideas and ideas. feelings in a humorous and relevant way.
“I wake up and turn on my phone, the first thing I see on social media are memes. I am surrounded by memes every day. And that’s not all. I subscribe to more memes accounts than people. The reason is simple. Memes give me joy. I am more and more dependent on this source of dopamine which helps me keep my spirits up. Memes are very important in my daily life, ”she explains.
I subscribe to more memes accounts than people. The reason is simple. Memes give me joy. I am more and more dependent on this source of dopamine which helps me keep my morale up ”
“The memes that Mauritians create are unique and are understood only by locals, most of the time. That’s why I think it’s great to see people from different cultures and religions laughing together. Memes bring people together and create great friendships. “
“However, memes sometimes deal with sensitive topics like racism, bullying, misogyny and sexism. Awareness is needed on taboo subjects, ”she said.
Sofa Maroussia, 20, has been a fan of memes since she was 14. She finds it hard to miss memes, given their presence on social media.
For her, the same are a way to convey funny messages. “It has become popular because we laugh and it brings us together. Sometimes, just to keep in touch with our friends, we send memes. The charm of the Mauritian meme is frankness and humor ”
Kenny Ramasawmy, 20, memes fan for six years, agrees with Sofa when it comes to the special charm of Mauritian memes. “Not all memes are going to appeal to everyone, because everyone has their preferences. But I like Mauritian memes and I encourage Mauritian creators. Because local memes are only relevant to Mauritians. “
Hemanshu Mungur, 19, who is not a fan of social media, was not immune to memes. The pages of memes are the only reasons that lead him to surf the networks. He says memes have had a positive impact on his student life.
“It was a great way to cheer me up during tough times. They helped me when I had family issues and when I felt lonely or exhausted. What encourages me to stay up to date with memes is that they keep me up to date with what’s going on in the world. With Mauritian memes, even politics becomes interesting. Creators spend a lot of time creating new funny and innovative memes. Memes are not going to go away, but rather grow in popularity. »Says Hemanshu Mungur.
Adrien Coosnapa’s dark humor
Adrien Coosnapa is one of the pioneers of memes in Mauritius. He launched his Mauritroll page in 2011 with two friends from his college. In 2012, he retired to create his page focused on darker humor. With his own page of memes, he communicates his boredom with funny pictures and sarcasm. He gives us a glimpse of the work behind the making of his memes, which have been making people laugh since 2012.
“With Mauritroll, the“ job ”was quite simply to pump content from 9gag and translate into Creole. But working on my own content allows me to recognize that I have ideas that are both brilliant and stupid. Sometimes my humor doesn’t appeal to everyone, ”he says.
From the first pages of memes translated into Creole to the development of his own style, he explains that the movement was created little by little. “The Mauritian population did not know this medium. At first, memes affected everyone and no one. But over the years, I’ve liked to see how we’ve made it our own. My specialty is certainly linked to my love for Perette Almond. But there is also the tone and a satirical point of view. The message would be: don’t be stupid, stupid. I push for introspection. I want people to ask themselves what is wrong. And by making typical Mauritian memes, a new ecosystem was born. And it would certainly be incomprehensible to the rest of the world. ”
Some meme makers are provocative. “Memes are a form of freedom and expression. And given the millions of taboos that we cultivate, opening the door to freedom has exploded the most buried impulses of some, ”he says.
The future of meme cultivation will result in a format that evolves over time. “Nothing will be so relevant ten years from now. Just like it will never be stagnant. The meme culture will never be extinguished. All I hope is not to see my predictions come true: the trashy humor endures and our laws … “
Krishna Pentayah: For Mental Health During Crisis
Krishna Pentayah, meanwhile, inaugurated his memes page on Instagram during the first lockdown. It was intended to relieve the pain, anxiety and stress of young people. He wants his memes to be good looking and fun. It calls for education on unexpressed topics, like body positivity, environment and mental health.
He believes that topical memes attract and always do. In his opinion, making fun of the suffering of students helps derision a lot. “They show how many of us are connected and feel the same. I also do a lot of self-deprecation because it makes me happy. And I think happiness is contagious. Memes are also a great way to get young people interested in current affairs and news. ”
A Journal of Physics and Humanities – Laughter at oneself: A self-reflective Internet study analyzes the phenomenon. “With the help of humor and relevance that Internet memes bring, many students are able to cope with their mental health issues. They have the platform to communicate about the mental state and connect with others who are experiencing the same issues. Respondents agree that indeed looking at the same reduces their anxiety attacks and / or symptoms of depression. “
He added that the use of memes by psychotherapists, as part of their practice, is increasingly popular. “A member of the American Association of Suicidology advocates that memes related to suicide can foster meaningful conversations. They can offer an alternative to destructive thoughts and behaviors. Overall, studies suggest that the content of depression memes is interpreted as negative and pessimistic by some. But there is something positive for people who suffer from depression. A picture is worth a thousand words, and a meme can communicate complex emotions immediately. It is then possible that memes have the ability to heal. They provide a way for people to communicate more openly about emotions and mental health. He said.
Supported by these facts, he sees that “Meme therapy” may become a reality in the near future. “Memes are more than a bunch of silly digital art. This is how the post-modern world has chosen to respond positively to the negativities of everyday life for better mental health. He maintains.
Memes as Marketing Tools
The mix of entertainment and personalization makes memes appealing. They are also used as a marketing tool. Communication experts agree that meme cultivation can develop formidable strategies. These can revolutionize the future of digital marketing.
Dylen Citta, Digital Marketing Freelancer, says memes are always evolving. They are used internationally as a method of marketing. They create awareness and engagement around brands, as well as films.
“It’s to the point that popular memes pages can now help brands. This trend is slowly coming to Mauritius where we are seeing some brands being able to get a large amount of engagements. For example, Quincaillerie Bric on Facebook, ”he emphasizes.
Sanjana Jhumun, co-founder and digital manager of Oxyzenn Digital Ltd, adds that more people have turned to online platforms because of Covid-19. Some local brands have even smartly incorporated memes into their marketing strategy. They create their own or share existing memes.
“Whether it’s good or bad, there’s no denying that memes have revolutionized the way we communicate. Lots of famous brands – from Burger King to Netflix – use memes to build instant rapport with their followers by making them laugh. Memes are great for marketing because they’re refreshing, easy to digest, easy to consume, and have the potential to go viral. I believe that original and high quality memes will allow brands to communicate and interact with their target audiences. Maybe this strategy is much better than traditional sales methods? »She concludes.