What do you meme?: An analysis of how college students use memes


Skyler Smith

Faculty Mentor(s)

Rodrigo Renteria-Valencia (Anthropology & Museum Studies)


This exploratory study provides insight into the behaviors of Central Washington University college students as it pertains to the discovering, sharing and creating of memes. Additionally, it explores meme use in inter-personal communication, the effects of meme interaction on personal interests and understanding of the digital and physical world, and opinions about memes being used in institutional and commercial contexts. Cultural anthropology methodology such as an online survey, long-form interviews, pile-sorting activities and analysis of current literature were used to collect and analyze the data for this study. A relevant finding from this study was student perception of memes in comparison with definitions made available in the current academic literature on memes. The results of this study are likely to be of interest to researchers who aim to understand memes and their use by this key population of meme users as well as institutional and corporate entities who seek to use memes to encourage interactions with themselves and this population.

Keywords: Memes, internet, communication


16 thoughts on “What do you meme?: An analysis of how college students use memes”

  1. She saw, she smirked, she scienced. You’ve crossed the Rubicon into researcher status. Congratulations!!!

    1. I chose this topic because I’m really interested in how our everyday interactions work. Since so many of us live a good chunk of our daily lives online, memes have become a huge part of those everyday reactions. Memes are also very fascinating in their own right and I enjoy saying that I am a “memeologist”

  2. Allyson Rogan-Klyve

    Nice work with this project and presentation. Your explanation of study methods and analysis was especially strong – good work!

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