System Analysis: Meme Creation

In the Digital Age, we have seen a skyrocket in the amount of liking, loving, retweeting, reposting, etc. We spread ideas through our shared posts and articles from random websites like “” and “”

However, our largest, most accessible way of sharing ideas, and especially making commentary on the current state of world affairs, is through–you guessed it–memes.


First, we take either an issue or a funny pop culture moment. We add a caption. The meme spreads, reaches new depths and dives into new realms of things like political and social commentary. Sometimes it’ll go too far or be taken over by white nationalists, like the famous Pepe the Frog was. Then the meme reaches this interesting point. It gets so popular that it becomes shunned to use it–it’s not cool anymore–and then it reaches my personal favorite point, the point of ironic usage. People start making memes that reference the meme, meta-memery, and we get into a phase so niche, so select, that the jokes can be referenced with single word. Then we enter the post-ironic phase. This is after most of the ironic usage has died out, but it is revived either ironically or seriously and becomes so ridiculously intertwined within itself that no one can tell what is a joke anymore. The meme, no matter how old or dead, can always be revived in this way.


For example, every meme on this 2012 list from Buzzfeed would be considered absolutely dead, but I see it far within the realm of possibility for these memes to come back in a post-ironic stage.

the evolution of a now dead af meme

So let’s go over the elements of how this works as a system:

  • Funny moment in pop culture/commentary on something
    • this is the instantiation of a meme
  •  Social media, ranked in terms of meme potency
    • Higher level social media, highest to lowest
      • Reddit
      • Tumblr
      • Twitter
    • Lower level social media, highest to lowest
      • Facebook (where the mothers lurk)
      • MySpace
  • Our greater general culture

These are interconnected through people, who post, repost, distribute, edit, and revive memes. They are also the controllers, and the feedback for this system would be the meme’s success and the implications it then has on our culture.


Industrial System: Radios

Radios transmit waves across the world to satellites.imgres

The key aspects of this system include:

  • radio waves
  • dish/satellite
  • cables
  • receiver/amplifier
  • computer
  • display systems

They go through the process by starting at whatever the radio source is. They get taken in  by the satellite dish, then are transferred from cables to a receiver, which moves to a computer and then is seen in the output we know of as video or sound.


We control this ourselves a bit by choosing to intake certain videos or sounds, which then makes more satellites needed if there is a larger demand so that it can reach more people. Additionally we are send our own signals out, so we can also become the radio source if we wanted to. This has allowed us to be collaborative and share things with other people.

Control System: Particle Accelerator

Particle accelerators take basic particles, like protons or electrons, and speed them up to very high energies using electromagnetic fields. The implications of such technology has led to numerous advances in science and medicine.

Rather than trying to explain the entirety of how it works and probably confusing you, I thought it’d be best to leave it to this helpful infographic:


The key elements involved here:

  • particles
  • beam pipe
  • electromagnets
  • electric fields
  • targets
  • detectors

These are noted above in the diagram. The particles interact with the electromagnets by getting accelerated by them, then they crash into the targets where the detectors measure how much they do.

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Environmental System: Trees can Talk?

Suzanne Simard did a TED Talk called “How trees talk to each other” where she debunks some of the commonly accepted myths about trees and networks. She shows that trees transfer CO2 to one another and can actually recognize their own seedling kin. Her talk is here:


Forests are connected through complex root systems. In this diagram, from Simard’s presentation, the darker and larger the nodes correlates with the number of connections to other trees. These highly connected trees are known as mother trees or hub trees–they spread their wealth of CO2 to the saplings and younger trees, and they help care for them as a mother would.

Screen Shot 2017-04-21 at 8.20.14 AM


I will be analyzing forest systems in only the carbon system of transfer. The elements in place are, most namely, trees and their respective sets of roots, along with carbon. They are interconnected underground, and the control/feedback would be contingent upon who has excess and who is lacking carbon. The function is to balance and regulate carbon within forest systems and to remain interconnected for support.

Screen Shot 2017-04-21 at 8.44.49 AM

Sociological System: The Crime of Punishment

In many of the cases in how we treat bullying, the root cause of the issue is not addressed and we are left to punishing students for their behavior. This not only doesn’t help anyone; it actually makes things worse. In the cases of treating bad behavior with grounding, detention, isolation (like suspension or expulsion), the behavior typically worsens and it actually pushes students into a further state of becoming a bully/target or even a worsened state of mental health.

The elements here would be a bit more abstract. Rather than speaking in terms of students or bully –> target, I believe it is better to speak in terms of our actual system of punishment. So, in the way that I’m framing it, the elements are the action and the treatment. The interconnections are shown in the diagram below:


We need to be looking at how we can achieve that green box and stay out of the orange ones. In order to break the loop, we have to change something about the way we handle punishment within schools.

Some may be thinking, well, bullying is simply a part of foundational education; it happens. However, students who are subject to reprimand are known to be put back in detention and other forms of punishment, and this is part of the school-to-prison pipeline: students believe anything they do will result in them failing, so they change their behavior to purposefully do things that result in some kind of recognition, even if it is bad. It’s like a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Additionally, this idea can be expanded to look at our criminal justice system. Statistics show that people who are jailed once are more likely to return to jail. This means that rather than–to put it generally–improving their quality of life, these people are continuing to commit crimes. Altogether, we are creating a cyclical system.

Biological System: Kidneys & The Urinary Track

I’m fascinated by a lot of the body’s functions and systems–they’re intricate, useful, and always somewhat mysterious. I’m specifically interested in the kidneys and how they relate to things like Kidney Disease, so this also ties into the urinary track system. This video from Crash Course has a good overview of the system:


The kidneys filter toxins from about 120 to 150 quarts of blood each day. They take out the toxins from the blood and then these toxins are dispelled through our urine.

The pieces:

  • Blood
  • Arteries/veins
    • carries blood to and from organs
  • Kidneys
    • millions of little filters within them
  • Ureters
    • the tubes that carry the urine from the kidneys to the urethra
  • Urethra
    • passes urine outside of the body
  • Urine
    • made up of wastes and extra fluid.


They interconnect as explained in the above video (which is better than I could ever write up) but to get a visual idea, they work together like this: