Hide the pain, Harold — study shows memes help ease pandemic stress

Zoom meeting after Zoom meeting, while trying to feed, entertain and beg-to-sleep an infant whose day care had closed, I needed a break but couldn’t really take one in April of 2020.

Enter memes. Between work, moving the laundry and taking care of my own dogs, I could sneak a peak at Instagram and chuckle at images of very excited pups, psyched that their humans were now home all day, every day.

I study media processes and effects, which is the psychology of how media messages can affect you. As the pandemic dragged on, I got more and more interested in how people were using social media – and memes featuring cute and funny pics, in particular – as a way to think and communicate with others about life during a global pandemic.

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