This study examined the credibility and persuasiveness of COVID-19-related Internet memes. This approach is important given the widespread use of social media during the pandemic and the rise of meme-based communication on social media. The study found that memes from an expert source are more credible and persuasive than those from a nonexpert source. The same applied to memes with an objective message over those with a subjective message. The credibility of a meme also improved its persuasiveness, meaning that users were more likely to like it, comment on it, and share it with others. As expected, younger people were more likely to like, share, and comments on memes. Overall, pro-mask/vaccine memes were more credible and persuasive than anti-mask/vaccines memes. These results suggest that public health campaigns may benefit by incorporating memes in their communications.
Ben Wasike, Memes, Memes, Everywhere, nor Any Meme to Trust: Examining the Credibility and Persuasiveness of COVID-19-Related Memes, Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, Volume 27, Issue 2, February 2022, zmab024, https://doi.org/10.1093/jcmc/zmab024
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Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication