June is all about the Morehead Writing Project for me (summer institutes, camps, budgets, oh my) and so I got a bit behind with my Making Learning Connected make cycles, but I could not let the Meme make cycle (#2) pass me by. I love memes and play with them all the time. I often try to resist making a meme for a blog post or lesson because I know that meme making is a black hole that can swallow hours if not a whole day. Much like potato chips, I cannot stop with just one meme. However, I think that is part of the process, or certainly my process. I start with a vague idea or concept and begin poking around and experimenting and before I know it I have a number of memes and then I must choose the one or two that work for my purpose. Meme making is much like writing in that way. We must be ruthless with our pruning.
I have some favorite memes, but that may be simply because they are more familiar to me. I haven’t had the time to truly immerse myself in memes, so I sometimes depend on my 13-year-old to guide me to the right meme for the story I want to tell. I don’t believe much of the digital native hype, but the modern American teenager tends to know their memes, in my experience. I do have some favorite meme makers (Mememaker, Quickmeme, Memesly) and I also like playing with Bitstrips as well as Big Huge Labs. As evidenced by the meme I created for this blog post, the “All the things” meme is a particular favorite of mine. I have also used it for “Blog all the things” and “Write all the things” and think it speaks to me on many levels. I am greedy when it comes to many things and have trouble finding balance. I always want to teach, read, eat, research, and you get the idea…all the things. I am aware that this is not just my problem which is what makes it such a wonderfully American or modern meme. We all have a consumption problem. Some of my favorite memes include Evil Cows, Condescending Wonka, Y U No, Boromir, Philosoraptor, and The Most Interesting Man In The World but as I look back over my blog and all the memes I have loved before I lost a whole morning again…damn you memes!
I have never really taught with memes but now that I think about the possibilities I am excited by their potential. As I’ve blogged before, I love six word stories and use them a lot and I believe that memes offer some of the same potential and uses for classroom, but I think they could also provide some real opportunity for literature analysis and revision discussion. I’ll definitely think about that a whole lot this summer as I prepare for my fall classes. I think memes offer potential to help introduce and understand genres as well as support our exploration of archetypes (for my comic book class). I think memes also offer a lot of potential for my professional writing class as they require a lot of audience and discourse analysis. You need to really know your audience and your context to pull off a successful meme. I know that my introduction to memes will include not only the Make introduction but also the Visual.ly on Memes and I will spend more time reviewing ERMAHGERD – MEMES IN THE CLASSROOM?. I will need to think more about this and do some more meme research…there goes my summer!
I can’t wait to see how others are using memes in their classroom!