Rana Al Khouli (Hamad Bin Khalifah University, Qatar)

An Overview of Syrian Memes in the Digital Media

This paper tries to answer how memes have played an essential role in Syrians’ social lives. The research was based on a qualitative methodology by using different types of Syrian memes from different social media pages on Facebook and Instagram. The usage of memes has been popular among Internet users. They are enabled to use digital means to transfer their ideas on social networking sites. By doing so, they can express themselves and deliver specific messages.

According to Shifman (2014) in her book Memes in Digital Culture which defines the concept memes as “the propagation of items such as jokes, rumours, videos, and websites from person to person via the Internet”. There are different types of Syrian memes such as political, social, racist and sexist. They are used for different purposes. Firstly, the political meme which is used as a means of radical digital humanities to interrogate power. Secondly, the social memes which have two groups; Syrian TV- series and crisis memes. The Syrian TV memes use its actor or actress sayings as a quotation, and then they might develop them further. For the crisis memes, there are a variety of memes which symbolizes the concept of using satire content in liberating oneself. Finally, the sexist memes in which this paper covers a critical idea of using sexist language in memes. They have become popular on social media platforms since 2012 onwards. However, Facebook considers a starting point for meme’s spread in Syria.

Keywords: Memes, radical digital humanities, social media, satire, digital, culture