8: The Circulation, Delivery, and Spreadability of Memes

When I first saw this blog prompt the first thing I thought of was memes. The definition of a meme is: “an amusing or interesting item (such as a captioned picture or video) or genre of items that is spread widely online especially through social media” (“Meme”). Keeping that in mind, I thought of “spreadability”, it “refers to the potential–both technical and cultural–for audiences to share content for their own purposes” (Jenkins et al). The entire purpose of a meme is for it to spread throughout the internet, so to me, it was one of the best examples.

Emily mentioned in her post, the importance of social media in regard to the circulation of prose poetry. Social media provides that same kind of importance, if not more when it comes to the circulation of memes. I don’t know about anyone else, but I receive at least 3 different memes a day on Instagram from my friends. According to Jenkins et al “platforms such as Twitter and Facebook facilitate instantaneous sharing to one’s social connections” and therefore platforms like these are very important for the circulation of memes because sharing is instantaneous. I get notifications when someone sends me a meme on Instagram or Facebook, which then cause me to go send it to someone else. This is a crucial system for the circulation of memes.

In “Why Media Spreads” Jenkins et al also mention the spread of entertainment content and how that relates to spreadability. Memes are a form of humorous entertainment for the viewer which is why it spreads so easily. People want to share what they find funny to their friends and family. Creators of memes also make them to make fun of certain characters in their fandoms or to mock leaders in political parties. Jenkins et al say “fan communities have been among the first to embrace the practices of spreadability.

Memes do work on printed pages, but they must first be created digitally. While they may be able to generate the same kind of reaction from the viewer on the printed page the way they circulate and the way they spread gets taken away. Memes need the internet in order to accomplish their sole purpose, so the printed page just really apply.


“Why Media Spreads.” SPREADABLE MEDIA: Creating Value and Meaning in a Networked Culture, by JENKINS, HENRY. FORD, SAM. GREEN, JOSHUA, NEW YORK UNIV PRESS, 2018, pp. 1–46.

“Meme.” Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster, www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/meme.