Distributed Media & Meme Warfare

What interested me most about the week 6 lecture was that the CIA have created a Meme Warfare division tasked with controlling the minds of the American population. This information reminded me of a quote by Albert Einstein when he said: “I do not know with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.” Perhaps World War III will be fought with memes. Memes hold a huge amount of power in influencing, affecting, generating and altering ideas so it only makes sense that government bodies would want to harness this and use it to their advantage.

Though I do believe Meme Warfare will continue to play an important role in large events, as seen in the 2016 Presidential Election, it begs the question as to whether America is ready for Meme Warfare? Do they have the appropriate weapons ready?

Remediation made with Canva.

Personally, I’m not convinced memes are something that can be successfully abused by macro institutions. Those that have tried, such as fast-food brands, have often become the meme themselves from their inability to keep up with a meme’s lifespan. Can organisations like the CIA even keep up with the short-lived nature of memes?

I’m interested to see how America’s use of Meme Warfare will play out in the upcoming 2020 Presidential Election.

Frank Tremain.


8 thoughts on “Distributed Media & Meme Warfare

  1. Josephine Doyle April 17, 2019 / 2:45 am

    This is such an insightful perspective here! I particularly like how you lead the post with the thought-provoking comparison to the Einstein quote! Awesome work adding lots of links in there too! I really appreciated your perspective on the short-lived nature of memes. In my post (https://josephinedoylemedia.wordpress.com/2019/04/17/distributed-media-and-meme-warfare/) I discussed how Leni Riefenstahl’s propagandist films for the Hitler regime had an enormous impact on history. In this way, I think that even though the life cycle of a meme is often very short, it has the capacity to shape the course of history by influencing our thoughts and opinions, therefore the effects can be long lasting.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. franktremain April 17, 2019 / 3:31 am

    Thanks for your comment, just read your blog then! I totally agree with you that while memes are short-lived, their impact can be irreversible. The bigger question my blog raises is whether now that we are more aware of propaganda media (like Riefenstahl’s films), are governments able to adapt and use memes for us to blindly spread propaganda? I really enjoyed your perspective – I’ll write more about this over in your blog comments! 🙂


  3. Gai Scott April 17, 2019 / 8:36 am

    I agree with you. I can’t see Memes influencing the population for very long. Particularly as we are all very cynical.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. laurenqbuow May 28, 2019 / 7:58 am

    Interesting perception here! You have clearly shared your opinion and backed it with evidence. Memes do hold a huge amount of power in this coming age, affecting political and social events dramatically. The meme you have created backs your point entirely! I believe although they may be a strong influence in todays society, the seriousness of there meanings won’t be enough to last the coming years. The question you have stated “Can organisations like the CIA even keep up with the short-lived nature of memes?” is something we are all asking ourselves. It would of been nice if you could of back this rhetorical question with some reasons of for and against this idea. But, other than that really nice insight!!
    PS. Really interesting video that i think will work nicely with your blog 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. jonolow May 31, 2019 / 4:11 am

    Haha I love the meme you made. The format of the site is brilliant and has a nice vibe overall. I like how you have examined war in the advanced age, and how amazing memes truly are. I investigated a comparative idea in my blog in that memes have very nearly a weapon like power and can be utilized to change and mentally-program peoples minds. Images will assume a major job in the next election and I feel that web based life stages will be overflowed with Trump images once again. I would highly recommend checking out this video : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xM90AhlFnXA as it really helped me grasp a better knowledge on this topic. Keep up the good work 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Amy dunn May 31, 2019 / 11:00 am

    Like other people have said, I like how you opened with an Einstein post to compare present day conflict and concerns to those of the 1940’s. I had no idea that the CIA had created a meme warfare division to weaponise memes, as in my blog I only researched and talked about how memes and their use in warfare was being researched by NATO. It honestly completely baffles me and honestly kind of concerns me that memes do play such a significant in so many crucial aspects of society, including politics. As for the impact of memes on the 2020 election, I defiantly feel like they’re going to play an equal as big or even bigger part.

    Liked by 1 person

    • franktremain May 31, 2019 / 11:06 am

      Yeah it’s scary to think something like memes plays such a big role in many facets of society now. Thanks for your comment!


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