Communicating via imagery - Speaking through online memes
Abstract Online memes have become a participatory culture used by members of the society to express ideas, feelings, and emotions as well as respond...
Online memes have become a participatory culture used by members of the society to express ideas, feelings, and emotions as well as respond to trending topical issues. The speed and often time, anonymity associated with the social media have made it easy to deploy memes that often makes the source challenging to track. These memes use several frames combined with multimedia elements to disseminate the intended message. Memes have gained prominence not just in Nigeria but globally and are fast becoming social artifacts. In Nigeria, it has mainly become a popular tool used for self-expression about specific issues, including the activities of the police force in the polity. Hence, this study undertook a content, and semiotic analysis of purposively selected memes and conversations on Twitter and Instagram linked to the hashtag #9japolice. The study specifically examined the themes, frames, and contextual meanings embedded in the memes to assess the dominant discourse embedded in the visuals and surround conversations on the hashtag. The study found that predominant themes embedded in the memes found on Instagram and Twitter included bribery, extortion, absconding from duty, irrelevancies, fitness/appearance, among others. Also, humour, sarcasm, cowardice, laziness, power distance, misplaced priorities, greed, etc. were used to frame the memes.
Key Words: Online Memes, Language, Visual Communication, Nigerian Police Force, Participation
* Ifedolapo Ademosu is a Lecturer in the Department of Mass Communication, Caleb University, Imota, Lagos, Nigeria. She holds B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in Mass Communication from the University of Lagos and an MBA from the Lagos Business School. She is interested in New and Digital Media Cultures, Cultural and Environmental Communication.
** Moyosore Omowonuola Alade, Ph.D., is a Lecturer in the Department of Mass Communication, Redeemer's University, Ede, Osun State, Nigeria. She holds a Ph.D. in Mass Communication from Babcock University, Ilishan Remo and is interested in Digital Media Cultures and Media & Conflict Studies.
JCMR Journal of Communication and Media Research, Vol. 11, No. 2, October 2019, pp. 34 - 46