I‘ll clarify the image above with emphasis: This meme isn’t the message (i.e. the text in the image). But the meme is the message (i.e. memes).
I’m using the Sudden Clarity Clarence text, a meme for sharing a perspective of the world between a small internet population, to exemplify McLuhan’s concept “The Medium is the Message (1964).” A meme is both the creation of an individual, and the creation of a collective — no one is identified as the creator of a meme, but collectively they are agents in its spread and acceptance. When users ‘like’ a meme, they are sharing and shifting the flow of content online, reinforcing the purpose of the meme as convergent media.
“Convergence doesn’t just involve commercially produced materials and services travelling along well-regulated and predictable circuits … It also occurs when people take media in their own hands” (Jenkins 2006).
Like all memes, the Clarity meme is constructed with identifiable features: the juxtaposition of the text; the ease to create on Imgur; the ease to distribute and ‘like’ it; and the ability to quickly understand the syntax and humour. These constructs are reproduced with each reiteration of the meme, to form a medium that has a social effect: a shareable text produced for clarity. The meta commentary text that I have written on top of the meme, has no meaning until you understand the medium. Like a piece of meat has no meaning, until your told it’s being used to distract the guard dog of the mind (McLuhan 1964), So, because the understanding of the medium informs the message of the Sudden Clarity Clarince meme, the meme becomes the message because — great, I confused myself.
McLuhan, M 1964, Understanding Media, Routledge, London