Memes Go Viral in Creative Writing

By GIULIA MILANA and SAM NEWMAN

On Tuesday, March 10th Molloy College Professors Jamie Cohen and Matthew Applegate visited Jericho High School’s Creative Writing classes to discuss the Internet’s impact on communication.

Professor Applegate shares with students the "doge" meme now being used by healthcare.gov.

Professor Applegate shares with students the “doge” meme that was used by the Health and Human Services department.

Instructor and director of Molloy’s New Media program Jamie Cohen and Assistant Professor of English and Director of the Writing Concentration Matthew Applegate presented in the Creative Writing classes and discussed the Internet’s impact on communication by focusing on the topic of memes.

A meme is a form of visual communication that combines popular images with text. Although memes are typically created by millennials for social media sites, they also have recently been created and used by older generations to appeal to millennials.  The federal government has even used memes as a form of advertising to encourage young adults to sign up for health care by visiting the healthcare.gov website. The federal government used the popular “doge” meme as a part of its social media campaign. “Doge,” which peaked in popularity in 2013, is a picture of a Shiba Inu accompanied by text deliberately written with improper grammar, usually in a multi-colored Comic Sans MS font.

The federal government's version of the "doge" meme.

The federal government’s version of the “doge” meme.

Senior Mikaela Adwar greatly enjoyed the professors’ presentation. “I found it to be equally informative as it was entertaining.”

Professor Cohen believes that memes are a universal form of communication since, “We all have access to this kind of technology.” Students have become very interested in creating their own memes.

“I didn’t realize the impact that memes have on our generation. I think it’s really cool how Molloy has a class about it,” said senior Gabby Garten.

Creative Writing teacher Ms. Valenza, felt the visit was beneficial. “I think it was the start of a conversation I’d like to continue because the whole idea of how the Internet is changing communication is incredibly important and something that teenagers are living through and therefore need to be more aware of.” She plans on asking Professors Cohen and Applegate to return next year.

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