Internet memes seem fairly harmless. Some images of cats with grammatically incorrect text, what could go wrong? Well, memes have come a long way since the early days of the internet. For over a decade, memes have been deployed as a weapon in culture wars. And they’re even more convincing than most people think. A well-placed meme on someone’s social media timeline can lead them into a den of radicalization, disinformation, and extremism.
This week on Gadgets Lab, we chat with Emily Dreyfuss, editor-in-chief at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy, about how memes have shaped politics and culture.
Emily recommends that you research what happens to an artichoke if you let it bloom, and also American Nations by Colin Woodard. Mike recommends r / random, which will take you to a different subreddit each time you click. Lauren recommends the HBO show White lotus.
Emily Dreyfuss can be found on Twitter @Emilydreyfuss. Lauren Goode is @LaurenGoode. Michael Calore is @snack. Bling the main hotline at @GadgetLab. The show is produced by Boone Ashworth (@booneashworth). Our musical theme is Solar keys.
If you have any comments about the show, or just want to enter to win a $ 50 gift card, take our quick listeners survey. here.
How to listen
You can still listen to this week’s podcast through the audio player on this page, but if you want to subscribe for free to get every episode, here’s how:
If you’re using an iPhone or iPad, open the app called Podcasts, or just press this link. You can also download an app like Overcast or Pocket Casts and search Gadgets Lab. If you are using Android, you can find us in the Google Podcasts app simply by by typing here. We are on Spotify too much. And in case you really need it, here is the RSS feed.
More great WIRED stories