This study looks at the meaning Dutch university students give to political internet memes and how this meaning relates to their political attitudes and behavior. In order to provide a better understanding of the meaning these Dutch students give to political internet memes, this research deviated from the quantitative nature of similar studies and did online focus groups instead. The online focus groups enabled participants from various locations in the Netherlands to interact with one another simultaneously. The results show the participants have clear political standpoints and are not reliant on internet memes as a way of influencing their political attitudes and behaviour. Internet memes function as a way of relatability, which is a perquisite of an internet meme to be funny. Furthermore, internet memes serve as a way of social validation in which memes that university students agree with reinforces their beliefs. However, a meme that university students disagree with can cause frustration and even polarization. An aspect that is not was mentioned in previous literature is the role of serendipity. Serendipity is the chance for someone to encounter something that they did not expect. Also, the temporality of an internet meme matters whether university students consider this internet meme funny or not. An internet meme would be shown at its best shortly after it was created and can get quickly outdated. Lastly, recommendations have been made for future research.

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Gijs Custers, Godfried Engbersen
Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences

Forotan, Y. (2020, July 5). Politics of Internet Memes: How Dutch University Students Give Meaning to Political Internet Memes. Sociology. Retrieved from