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Thanks for the meme-ories The Hammer Memer is creating a sense of community online, one meme at a time

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What is a meme? The Cambridge English Dictionary defines a meme as an “idea, image, video etc. that is spread very quickly on the internet.” But is that all? Memes are increasingly becoming a mode of communication and community building, particularly among younger generations. The Hammer Memer, a Hamilton-based meme account with over 6,000 followers, describes it as a “virtual handshake”a fitting description given handshakes are universally recognized as a sign of greeting or agreement, representing the idea of building friendships and connections between people through the medium of the web. 

“You can tell that it can bring a community together … just having these shared experiences, and then laying them out in some sort of comedic visual. It gives people this sense of collective bonding,” explained the creator of the Hammer Memer, who wishes to remain anonymous.

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@chill.man.318 w this holiday treat. ⛄🍪🍭🎅

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Each post on the account speaks to that shared experience of Hamiltonians, whether it be the loss of the LRT, a love for the arts or the struggle to stay healthy. There are dozens of comments on each post, with followers tagging their friends to talk to them about it. While the content may be silly, the number of people interacting with it shows how relatable it can be, to friends and strangers alike.

There are dozens of comments on each post, with followers tagging their friends to talk to them about it. While the content may be silly, the number of people interacting with it shows how relatable it can be, to friends and strangers alike.

Despite running a relatively successful local meme account, the creator of The Hammer Memer, has had a rocky relationship with social media prior to creating the account. 

“My relationship with social media is kind of all over the place, in a way that I don’t really enjoy, but I also know that it can be a lot of fun, and it can be used for a lot of good things. I just kind of got fed up using it to showcase my personal life because I’m not the most public person, I’m a pretty private person. So I decided, ‘You know what, I’ll start making memes’ because I thought it was a really fun but easy way to use social media for good . . .  to make people laugh,” explained the creator of The Hammer Memer.

The response to the page has been overwhelmingly positive, with the account even partnering with the local brand O’s Clothes to sell their own merchandise. While much of the online community and social media has been criticized for becoming increasingly toxic, The Hammer Memer has created a predominantly positive space for Hamiltonians to gather.

“You hear a lot about the volatility of the interweb, and I was expecting a lot of persistent haters after some particular memes especially, but nobody was really attached to attacking me or anything like that. Overall, I’ve only received love,” they said. 

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🐘 it is wut it iz🐧

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Some of the posts touch on more serious topics, like the Chedoke water crisis and coverup, in order to draw attention to them. The Hammer Memer says that, increasingly, they’ve noticed that younger audiences are turning away from traditional media sources in favour of online content, like memes.

Some of the posts touch on more serious topics, like the Chedoke water crisis and coverup, in order to draw attention to them. The Hammer Memer says that, increasingly, they’ve noticed that younger audiences are turning away from traditional media sources in favour of online content, like memes.

“I do know that a lot of media sources don’t appeal to younger crowds especially. I guess it’s a generational thing, but I think the [former] reliance on getting information from major networks, I feel like some people have lost confidence in them, or trust in them. I know that I do have a younger crowd following me, and when it comes to sharing information to the public about relevant information that affects our community . . . I do get to help certain groups of our community to be informed and stay informed,” they said.

So what is a meme? Is it just an image to be shared? In many ways, that simplicity is what makes memes appealing; they’re easy to access and they’re relatable. At the end of the day, memes are what you get out of them, whether that be a laugh shared with friends, or a slightly forceful exhale as you laugh on your own. 

 

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Author: Lauren O'Donnell

Lauren is in her fourth and final year of English and Cultural Studies. She is a big fan of sustainable fashion, body positivity, and 80s pop music. In her spare time, Lauren can be found hanging out with her cat, Lyric.