Memes and activism

one of the highlights of this module for me was the discussion on memes and in my own digging how they can be used in internet activism.

this topic about whether or not memes contribute to governmental change is still an ongoing debate where some believe that creating memes and inserting them as the opening page of a petition is just as good as going to downing street and waving a protest banner outside. on the other hand some call this slack-tivism, which means for avid Facebook and other social media platform users clicking like, sharing or signing the petition is deemed lazy and pointless.

however in an article written by Kristina Mauric on said that in January  2015 japan responded to a hostage ransom of 2 million dollars with a “meme-fest contest”.

“The hashtag associated with the posts, #ISISクソコラグランプリ, roughly translates to “ISIS crappy collage grand prix,” and has been used more than 67,000. To lend humor to the otherwise grim image, the photo was enhanced with everything from selfie sticks to llamas and lightsabers to Mickey Mouse ears.”


although the people had a funny response to an awful situation, the meme ultimately showed isis that the people of japan will not negotiate with them.

so from online friendly humour to online internet activism, the future of memes could have a positive outcome in the way people use them for various things.




  1. I have a mixed feeling towards the Japanese isis meme, it showed how people have used humour to defend terrorism, but on the other hand it seems kind of cruel to me that the hostages in the picture were being making fun of. Perhaps the fact that memes come and go so easily has disabled us from thinking deeper into such controversy?


  2. I had never come across a ‘serious’ meme before, whilst the meme mentioned above made clear that Japan would not cooperate I’m not sure if it matched the tone of the situation. I don’t think that memes can be used as a tool of activism as they are split second images which many of us scroll past and ignore.


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