Chennai sources have stated that the post Jayalalitha era, internet memes, images or videos accompanied by a witty comment have grown to cover the entire gamut of political parties, exerting influence on the way youth see politics. Meanwhile tech-savvy youngsters, who run popular ‘meme’ pages with millions of followers on social media, got involved in volunteering during the December 2015 floods; they switched gears and played a central role in mobilizing thousands of people demanding that Jallikattu be held.
When asked why many of these pages made a sudden shift to politics from posting jokes about cinema and other topics, Gautham Govindarajan, who runs Facebook page ‘Chennai Memes’ that reaches over 750,000 members and played an important role in the Jallikattu protests, says youngsters are looking for accessible information on politics.
Gautam Govindarajan says "Young people in the 18-26 age groups are interested in politics, but they don’t know what and how to think about politics. So, we give them an image and a witty caption that has a point of view. When we post an image, it is easy to read and forward to others. Not many might click on a link and read on the website or an app".
Gautham claims that many of Chennai Memes’ fans have admitted to following only this page for news and therefore they try to reflect the popular mood. The topics also go beyond party politics. Asked how political parties are coping with the new phenomenon, D. Ravi Kumar, general secretary, Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi, said the meme culture was a mere extension of Tamil Nadu’s politics of posters.
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