“If You Don’t Spread, You Are Dead”: Sharing Pandemic Memes on Facebook

Yasemin Beykont (Pennsylvania State University)

As a vital part of internet folklore, memes not only represent collective identities through circulating jokes but also construct such identities through the formation of shared values and thus act as significant cultural artifacts. This community formation in the digital realm is particularly significant during the ongoing pandemic, where contact has been almost entirely limited to virtual spaces. This study qualitatively analyzes common themes across memes shared in a humor-centric Facebook group, meant to unify people to make light of this difficult situation, and how members used these memes as both a coping mechanism during the isolation and as a place to build a sense of community.

Part of 34-03 Media, Performance, and Folklore, Wednesday, October 20, 2:15 pm–3:45 pm