Internet meme as a sign of modern media space

Abstract: 

This article is devoted to a relatively new phenomenon in the media space – the Internet meme, which is a unit of information that spreads from one native speaker to another, like a virus. The topicality of the research is determined by the increased interest in the function of the Russian language on the Internet. Owing to new ways of communication, various linguistic units arise, knowing them means the possibility to fully communicate with other network users both on the Internet and outside of it. The article concerns the reasons for the appearance of Internet memes and the principles of their formation. It also analyzes the origin of the “Internet meme” concept. Based on the usage of popular Internet memes, we established the patterns of their development and distribution, as well as the factors that influence their success, their popularity with the young audience that appears to be the main consumer and participant of the modern media space. Defined as elements of the youth subculture, memes reflect their inherent specific humor and nonconformity. They often have a negative and provocative connotation, which makes them easier to remember. The conclusion is made about the nature of the Internet meme, which is based on a precedent phenomenon, and the functions that the Internet meme performs. As Internet memes themselves lack any deep meaning, they fulfill their major purpose by referring a linguistic personality to the relevant information accessible to a certain reference group. The more important the information is, the more likely the meme is to become truly popular. In contemporary society, impossible without the Internet, memes inevitably go beyond the scope of limited use on various Internet sites and reach into the media, advertising for brand products and social and political actions.

Key words: 

Internet, meme, Internet meme, media space, linguistic personality, precedent phenomenon.

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