On May 28th, 2015 North West, the daughter of Kim Kardashian West, and Penelope Disick, the daughter of Kourtney Kardashian, were photographed by paparazzi as they left a ballet class in what looks to be a heated argument. As soon as those pictures hit the internet various memes began appearing. According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary a meme is “an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture.” The idea of a meme pulls directly from Jenkins framework in Spreadable Media. The picture that sparks a meme can be seen as a producerly text, with options to be able to edit the text on the picture to a million different things. For example this group of pictures of North and Penelope. According to Ryan Matthew Pierson of lockergnome.com “the best memes out there are organic.” North and Penelope didn’t go out there with the idea of creating something that will go viral, they are just toddlers being photographed doing an everyday activity.
The pictures have been manipulated to fit different users experiences. These memes of North and Penelope, and memes in general, are available when and where audiences want it, portable, easily reusable in a variety of ways, and relevant to multiple audience. According to Jenkins these characteristics makes content more likely to be spread. A simple google search of North West and Penelope Disick Memes leads to dozens of different interpretations of this photo. They are easily spreadable through social media. According to Dennis from The Diary of Dennis, memes are so popular because they create connections between a subject and an audience. This audience could be one friend, your Facebook group of girls from college, all your Twitter followers, or any person who feels the same way about whatever subject. In this case you can pull from the humor of a toddler expressing such emotions and how they relate to all people’s emotions.
On hollywoodlife.com they compiled a photo stream of the top 7 memes from that day they could find. When comparing stickiness and spreadability they do both. They are using the stickiness of the humor in these memes to touch of the idea Jenkins brings up about the migration of individuals. They want to get people to their site and go through their slide show of pictures. After the seventh picture it prompts you to their next slide show and so on. This could lead people getting stuck on their content and going over it again and again. They also allow for the flow of ideas Jenkins touches on by offering 4 options of ways to share these memes with your friends. They want you to circulate their content around to your friends, and they are making that easy with these buttons.
These memes of North and Penelope are quick and easy to interact with, which is good considering people’s attention spans are declining. For something to be spreadable these days it has to be a quick interaction. According to the Statistic Brain Research Institute people on average have an attention span of 8.25 seconds. So memes, that are usually just pictures with captions, are easily spreadable because those take a few seconds to look at or attend to. This is a concept not touched on by Jenkins, but I think is important to keep in mind.
I think this picture of North and Penelope that has become multiple memes, all combined to one slide show by hollywoodlife.com, is a good example of Jenkins’ ideas. It exemplifies so many of his ideas of what makes content sticky and spreadable, as I mentioned above.