Constructive and destructive memes
Jeff Giesea in his article for Defense Strategic Communications journal, says that memetic warfare can be offensive, defensive, or predictive. It can be deployed independently or in conjunction with cyber, hybrid, or conventional efforts.
As for me in the broadest sense memes can be constructive and destructive. Destructive memes, like “fascists” and “banderovtsy” (for Ukrainian nationalists), “gayropa” (for European norms of tolerance), “crucified boy” and “Liza – the raped girl” (for spreading the unreal threat), are made to incite hatred between people, based on the security needs from the threats. And these memes are made manually to deepen the fear of those, who are aimed by them (Europeans, refugees, Ukrainian).
Constructive memes are made mostly naturally. They are born in information space themselves, people just start to use them. In Ukraine constructive memes are – the “Heavenly Hundred” (for those who gave their lives on Maidan for the freedom of Ukrainian people), the “Cyborgs” (for Ukrainian volunteers and soldiers, who died defending the Donetsk airport from terrorists’ and Russian Special Forces attacks).
The most famous European meme is “Freedom, Equality and Brotherhood”, but as we see it has lost its power long ago.
Their constructive role is very significant. For example, the “legend” says that “Heavenly Hundred” is watching us not only to defend us from the enemies, but also to prevent us from giving and taking bribes. This seems childish, but still this story is spreading along Ukrainian social media, saying that Heavenly Hundred will punish you if you misbehave while building new country.
In my opinion constructive memes are much more efficient than destructive ones, and more than that – constructive memes, if they are accepted by society, do not need any resources for spreading them in media, because they have very high virility.