If you have a teen who is active online and into memes, there’s an interesting cautionary tale kicking around the internet this week. If you’re not up to speed on what a meme is, let us help.
A meme is an image macro – a popular (or about to be) image that the social media in-crowd has deemed noteworthy in some way. The image is uploaded to Livememe or another image generator site, where users can impose their own text and then post it to Reddit, 4chan, Twitter or Instagram. Text on an image is not in itself a meme; it doesn’t become a meme until multiple people are using the same image to express different ideas.
The meme above, titled “Joker Mind Loss”, is from the Batman movie series and I added the text a moment ago.
This week, a member of the Good Morning America social media team tweeted the following:
They were posing a question about whether the picture of NBA MVP Lebron James crying tears of joy Sunday night could become an iconic meme, joining the ranks of crying Michael Jordan, Jim Carrey from the movie The Mask and Kermit the Frog drinking tea and offering a sarcastic opinion. The “problem” is, they referred to Kermit as a lizard, not a frog, and the internet was outraged.
In this case, the Good Morning America staffer got the last laugh. It turns out that six months ago a popular social media parody account and meme insider spawned the “Kermit is a lizard” trope. Twitter account Internet Man (@trillballins) introduced the wacky concept with this tweet on January 21:
What the Good Morning America social media team had done is make an internet joke go viral six months after the fact. That’s a win for them! In this case, the joke was on the outraged Twitter users who thought that Good Morning America was clueless.
Here’s why we say that this is a cautionary tale: Don’t underestimate the speed with which the internet jumps to conclusions. Good Morning America had the resources and social standing to post a joke and let it run its course. For the average teen on the internet, no such luxury will be afforded.
Any time your teen posts something that could be controversial, there is a judge and jury of millions ready to had down a verdict. There are also school admissions officers and future employers ready to pass judgment. The stakes are high.
If you are worried that your teen or tween is at risk, we can help. The ThirdParent initial audit is now FREE (previously a $49 value). Ongoing monitoring is $15 per month and you can cancel at any time. Click here to sign up today!
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