Like, Share and Comment: Gen-Z and Political Memes on Social Media

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Ms. Surbhi Tandon, Mr. Namit Vikram Singh, Dr. Durgesh Tripathi

Abstract

The paper focuses on identifying the usage patterns amongst Gen-Z regarding political memes on social media platforms in Delhi, India. Memes have been observed as unconventional ways of expressing political dissent with the rise of the networked society. With the growth in the use of social media platforms as forums for public dialogue and sharing of political opinions, memes are seen to be extensively used not just for creative expression but also in regard to sensitizing a larger virtual community about various political discourses. In the case of the west, the use of political memes by the youth have been observed as informal ways of engaging with different political situations within society and creating an independent space for public forum through social media. Memes which are commonly known as ‘idea viruses’ have garnered greater acceptability and virality on different social media platforms. They are often considered as a part of the participatory political culture on the internet and are associated with ‘networked individualism’. In the case of India, especially regarding Gen-Z, the use of social media is evolving complementary to the different ways of experimenting and engaging with political discourses. Political memes are seen to be used for expressing opinion and engaging with political issues in both conventional and unconventional ways. One of the primary factors seen is the rising level of political awareness due to rising education and socio-economic status (E-SES). The paper, therefore, seeks to understand the usage patterns of political memes by Gen-Z on social media and whether it complements the model of Data-Knowledge-Action in a networked setup. It also aims to understand the kind of sensitization it is shaping within a larger virtual community of Gen-Z in Delhi, India. The study will utilize a survey method to understand the factors for the widespread popularity of political memes and its impact on the political choices of Gen –Z in Delhi, India.

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