MISSIONS OF LIGHT SERIES
by Aspen – ABCU|8 team
Have you seen memes that grabbed your attention quickly—memes that demanded being shared? Do you feel the call to meme?
“Memers often major in visual presentation skills. We value memers’ ability to capture the essence of an idea in a few words accompanied by well-chosen images. They often use irony, humor, beauty, exaggeration, etc. to drive the message home.” 
Memes (images with added text) are a valuable tool in our info warfare arsenal. They became popular with the rise of social media. An effective meme impacts the viewer in a fraction of a second. A really funny or ironic meme stands a good chance of being retweeted and spreading virally.
Memes are like the ultimate cluster munition. No blood loss, no damage to property—the only thing memes can destroy is a narrative. They cause brains unaccustomed to independent thought to begin mental exercise. They stimulate minds to question that which is, and to visualize that which could be. Unlike cluster munitions, memes can impact thousands in moments, yet their residual effect lingers as other minds encounter them later. Memes are the most dangerous of weapons, for they do not end, but create new beginnings.
Not all memes are created equal, though. This writer’s “Tao of Memes”  picks apart meme examples and critiques them, with the goal of raising our craft to the next level. It discusses technical aspects like image selection, size and shape to maximize exposure, text and fonts, strategies, and graphics tools. You don’t have to be an artist (but it helps); pithy verbiage alone can be a meme!
It would be foolhardy to ignore decades of marketing research on the psychology of influence. A superb meme presents an idea from the reader’s perspective. To do this, a memer sets aside their own viewpoint and temporarily adopts a different person’s perspective. Ask yourself if your meme should confront and punish, or get inside the viewer’s head to tease, delight, or inspire? Is it deleted and not forwarded because it insults the viewer? What about foul language? There’s a time and a place for it…but it’s a turnoff for some viewer segments. Will it go viral? Is it funny? Wry? Sarcastic? Surprising? Emotional? Beautiful? Elevating? Memorable? Insulting? Provocative? Boring? What is the target audience?
If such questions intrigue you, give the Memer’s Mission a try. Study others’ memes on social media. Consider collaborating with a Researcher  to gain vital information that needs to be shared. When ready, select the hot topic of the day, and create a phrase to deliver your message. Select an appropriate image, apply your text, and let fly! The best memers perfect their craft through trial and error, observing what works and what doesn’t. Ultimately, no one can predict which meme will go viral. Those who perfect the memer’s craft are held in high esteem by fellow digital warriors.
1. Missions of Light—Introduction, https://abcu8.co/2020/11/21/missions-of-light-introduction/
2. The Tao of Memes Good, the Bad, and the Ugly or What makes a good meme GREAT?, https://8kun.top/abcu/res/217.html
3. Missions of Light—1. Research/Dig, https://abcu8.co/2020/11/24/missions-of-light-series-mission-1-research-dig/