Memes, due to their lack of authors—who come with impact-mitigating baggage like names, faces and most importantly: the ability to be scrutinized—come off as authoritative statements delivered by wise, disembodied voices. This—and the fact that they pithily corroborate their poster’s agenda—may explain why we seldom fact-check them before posting (or co-signing); we’re too caught up in the mania of ‘sharing’ or more accurately: weaponizing (mis)information. It’s visceral, masturbatory; satiates, but doesn’t fulfill.
The nature (“ZOMG!!! You fear the same things I fear!!! Let’s be friends!!!”) and blistering speed in which these memes and other dubious information proliferate social networks has me wondering if such a thing has occurred—albeit relatively slower at times, due to the fact that our ancestors had to physically move about the globe to spread their ‘memes’—throughout our entire history of records. That means everything from religious texts to historical accounts may be as ‘accurate’ as a meme declaring Obama the Antichrist.