When is A Meme Mean? By Linda Contreras

Ever since being on social media for so long, I've been able to see the way memes have developed and changed over the years. From badly drawn cartoons depicting the era of "rage comics" and from images like "Bad Luck Brian" accompanied by some funny caption. For me, these were my original "OG" memes, however they're nothing compared to what we have now. In seconds, something can become a meme. Whether a funny situation that happened to a celebrity, a weird gif, or even a serious situation and in seconds it can become viral. But, where's the line? Too many times I've come across memes on Twitter or Instagram that were so offensive I thought to myself, how can someone even think this is funny?

Knowing when to draw the line when you're on the Internet is one of the most important things you can do. For some odd reason, some people picking at a certain race or sexuality or even disability is funny and so internet worthy. However, none of the people who make these memes and images take into account the grave affects it can essentially have and the negative consequences that follow. The person who makes that meme can get into serious trouble if the school they go to or the job they work for finds it then sees it was them who made it, because it shows a bad image of that school or workplace. Say you didn't make the meme, but you liked it and a lot of social media sites share what you like with the people who follow you. Your own personal credibility can decline if you're seen liking something harmful or offensive because it just reflects your own person.

So what can you do? When you stumble upon an offensive post, you can first take the action of reporting the post and blocking the person who posted that to avoid seeing further posts from them on your feed. If it's someone you know personally, you can take time to talk to them about their actions and why it's wrong, but if not, simply reporting that person is a good step for further online positivity. Furthermore, on your own account, post something positive to overcome and oversee the negative. Be careful when it comes to online images, because people sometimes have bad intentions and it's important to keep our web safe!

Triveni Patel