The media convergence model presents an environment in which everyone produces information without intermediates or filters. A subsequent insight shows that users (prosumers) —gathered in networked communities—also shape messages’ flow. Social media play a substantial role. This information is loaded with public values and ideologies that shape a normative world: social media has become a fundamental platform where users interact and promote public values. Memetics facilitates this phenomenon. Memes have three main characteristics: (1) Diffuse at the micro-level but shape the macrostructure of society; (2) Are based on popular culture; (3) Travel through competition and selection. In this context, this paper examineshow citizens from Ecuador and the United States reappropriate memes during a public discussion?
The investigation is based on multimodal analysis and compares the most popular memes among the United States and Ecuador produced during the candidate debate (Trump vs. Biden  and Lasso vs. Arauz ). The findings suggest that, during a public discussion, it is common to use humor based on popular culture to question authority. Furthermore, a message becomes a meme when it evidences the gap between reality and expectations (normativity). Normativity depends on the context: Americans complain about the expectations of a debate; Ecuadorians, about discourtesy and violence.
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