Während ein politischer Mini-Umschwung vor meiner Haustür von statten ging, saß ich auf meiner Couch und starrte auf mein Smartphone. Ich wartete auf meine Online-Verabredung mit Mr. Ping – ein Meme-Seiteninhaber von dem ich noch nie ein Foto gesehen hatte und dessen wirklichen Namen ich nicht kannte.
„Yeah let’s do it“ entgegnete mir das Avatarbild aus Kung Fu Panda.
Die Grenzen zwischen URL und IRL werden immer nebulöser und Memes können mittlerweile als endgültige Ausdrucksform der 2010er angesehen werden. Viral, beteiligungsorientiert und verstörend referentiell. Die Meme-Kultur vereinigt all die kreativen Strömungen unserer Mikro-Ära und spiegelt die Strukturen unserer digitalen Zeitrechnung wieder.
Im Januar 2017 erblickte die Seite „Mr. Ping“ das Licht der LED-Monitore. Mithilfe von Memes über die banalen Probleme der Jugendkultur konnte die Seite über 150 Tausend „Gefällt mir“-Angaben generieren. Die visuelle Darstellung seiner Inhalte, meist einfach und rudimentär, fungierten als irreführendes Sprachrohr der Langeweile.
What differentiates a meme from a joke?
I honestly think the main difference is that jokes almost always have to have context/meaning and a punchline, whereas memes can literally be anything, like just a picture of a dog which can be used anywhere and it’ll be funny.
Right. There’s an element of self-deprecation in a couple of your posts. I feel like that’s a humorous device used a lot by our generation.
Yeah, I think it’s a way some people deal with self esteem issues. Self-depreciating themselves for others to laugh at. Making comedy from serious issues is pretty common these days.
If you took all your posts and read them as a body of work, do you think you would see a perceptible arc through them?
I think my posts around the end of July to mid June were great. I really enjoyed running the page then and that was a peak time. I haven’t been as active since cause of work and stuff. I like to look back on posts from then because I was so relaxed about everything and there was always memes to post so it was great.
One thing I think is really cool about meme culture is that the speed at which it operates makes it basically impenetrable to anyone who isn’t actively participating. Most of the meme formats that go super viral, I can’t imagine someone in 15 years being able to explain what they meant.
Yeah I agree, memes come and go really quickly, they rarely last longer than a few weeks before getting old. In cases where they do last longer they usually get normified, which means normies start overusing them and generally making them unfunny. I call this normification.
A lot of the discussion around memes is centered on how big companies steal the formats and use them for their advertising.
That’s just a way they try to appeal to younger audiences, some people don’t like it although I’m not sure why.
True. I have a question about the name you picked – why did you go with that?
Interestingly enough it wasn’t me who made the page. My friend created the page and made me admin, I’m the one who posts all the content he just owns the page. To answer your question I believe he chose the name because Mr. Ping memes were popular at the time so naturally creating a page with that name was almost guaranteed to gain followers.
Do your family and friends know that you run a meme account, or do you try to keep it private?
Most of my friends do. I am never telling anyone in my family though they would think I’m odd.
Do you feel like memes have turned into a form of news, or a way young people can now start talking about politics?
I don’t think they have to be honest, they mostly take news and make it into a form a comedy. In my opinion if you’re getting your news from memes you should re-evaluate a few things. As for the politics question I think it’s really the same situation.
I deleted my Facebook account for a couple of weeks and I was a little shocked to discover how addicted I am to sharing my bad opinions. I would have a thought that wasn’t even that funny and feel compelled to do something with it. Like, who can I text this dumbass thought to that I otherwise would’ve just posted? Who can I poison with this? Do you feel this urge to share something online?
I get a sort of similar thing with stuff I post, like I’ll see something funny and I’ll just post it on this page. Or I’ll think of something funny and it’ll get posted. Most of the stuff I post is stuff I find funny so naturally not everyone likes the stuff.
Is there ever any competition or beef between other meme pages?
Not really, I’m not one to start beef or be involved in it, I just wanna kinda do my own thing. However I’ve had pages ask if I wanted to fake beef with them, but I told them no.
A lot of memes have become incredibly detailed with personal experiences of anxiety or depression that a lot of people relate to. What do you think about the shift of memes over time?
I think some memes have become more relatable over time solely for the purpose of getting more likes.
What is something you want the world to know about you, outside of your meme page like who you are?
My penis is a foot long.