Memes and Media

The Virologist– How a young entrepreneur built an empire by repackaging memes”- by Andrew Marantz

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What are memes?…

Memes are a newer development in ways to make something “go viral.” They are an important tool to internet entrepreneur Emerson Spartz. “As I became less motivated by my passion for the books, I got obsessed with the entrepreneurial side of it, the game of maximizing patterns and seeing how big my reach could get,” Spartz said. He focuses on how to interest young people in various websites and the tools necessary to do so.

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He focuses on areas that will interest people- from pop culture fads like Harry Potter to uplifting anecdote websites. How does he network his websites? Through social media websites such as Facebook- this takes the emphasis off of brand recognition and onto the context of the site itself. Instead of promoting his company he uses the “share” button to speak for itself. In order to further the appeal of these sites he uses digital media such as photographs and headlines to attract the readers and make the site more visually interesting. 

Importance of social media…

Like many young entrepreneurs- Spatz exhibits childlike behavior that is slightly naive but endearing. “I realized that influence was inextricably linked to impact—the more influence you had, the more impact you could create. . . . The ability to make things go viral felt like the closest that we could get to having a human superpower.” The best websites stir emotion in the readers he explained. This emotional reaction compels people to share the link. He demonstrates the importance of visual rhetoric. For example, in order to persuade people to act he would show images of devastation and how they can help; using short decisive words that resonate with the busy audience.

Appealing to an audience…

Posts in lists are more visually appealing to todays society that will probably just be skimming the article anyway. Using intriguing headlines that will catch someones eye on Facebook is a key to advertising these lists. His employees even communicate through emojis and GIFs on instant messaging- further demonstrating his dedication to digital media contact. He believes we will soon be in a position where artificial intelligence surpasses that of human; until then he plans to understand what it is that makes people tick and how to appeal to them and their emotions.

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