Memes have become a part of our everyday lives, and Reels, the first original content video app in India, has been quick to pick up on this cultural shift. With an ever-growing number of Indian creators uploading videos every day to the app, Reels sees memes as being just as important to its users as short films and stand-up comedy clips are. From Vin Diesel’s Shrek reaction to the Bollywood dancing Police Officer meme, Indian creators are finding memes to be an easy way to grab attention from people across the country and make them into fanatics who engage with their content time and again. India’s meme creators find success on Reels
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Indian meme makers take off
For many of India’s top memesmiths, their first impressions of Reels were positive. I was impressed by how Reels had very little content compared to other social media platforms and was immediately convinced that it was a platform made for users like me who preferred quality over quantity, says Mohammad Ahsan Attarwala, a 21-year-old meme creator based in Mumbai. As he spoke, he scrolled through his videos using his wireless mouse to highlight a picture of an elderly man with a bowl cut and patches of facial hair growing out his ears: It’s not an ugly face! It looks exactly like my grandpa when he wakes up from bed! Look at him.
What are Memes?
A fun way to describe cultural ideas, people, and events. A meme can be a picture with a caption (this is what we think of when we hear meme these days), but it can also be an image-macro-video that’s very shareable. In Indian culture, memes are often used for social commentary on politics or society.
Making a meme isn’t about being perfect—it’s about having fun! People from all walks of life create memes as a way to connect with others and break down cultural barriers. At Reels, our mission is to help creators in India make great work—and get paid for it!
Memes have grown in popularity for several years, but it’s only recently that a path to mainstream success has emerged. Within these past few months, two popular Indian Meme creators have been signed by two of India’s biggest talent agencies: Happy Funny Fili and Mashallah For Nothing (MFNo) are now recognized as legitimate social media celebrities within their own country. The fact that they managed to get management is thanks largely in part to their rapid growth on reel websites like Nowslip and Haulxo. One reason why their popularity skyrocketed so quickly is due to meme competitions, which grew significantly in popularity throughout 2018 with most Facebook users joining one of over a hundred popular pages.
Indians, who form a huge chunk of video content viewers in India and abroad, are using social media platforms to create and consume memes. They’re creating new genres of Indian language memes through creative adaptations, parodies and viral content. One such popular example is Wasted Guy, which shows an Indian man with messy hair, drunk eyes and three vertical lines indicating that he’s been partying hard. There are regional variations too—an office worker might have no shirt or shoes on him or have a drink in hand, depending on where it originated from. The list goes on: there are several more categories including jokes about politics, educational institutions like JNU as well as regular people including Bollywood actors and cricket stars.
The Future of Humor
One of India’s most popular social platforms, Reels, recently added a new feature: video memes. As video content becomes an increasingly critical aspect of online communities like Facebook and YouTube, it’s not surprising that other platforms are jumping in on trends. With close to 35 million users monthly, and 90 percent from outside of Mumbai and Delhi, Reels provides an opportunity for Indian creators to tap into niche audiences that might not be accessible via other media.
Beyond Internet Jokes
While internet memes can be funny, it turns out that they’re also a great way to spread a message—or sell a product. On India’s social networking platform, Reels, content creators are able to benefit from sharing their work as businesses place sponsored posts in front of users’ eyes. By promoting their sponsored posts through memes and other types of content created by popular meme pages, brands are able to reach millions of people across India. Consumers might not even realize that they’re being marketed to, but brands have found that sharing sponsored content alongside culturally relevant jokes increases click-through rates for those who do spot ads among jokes.
How To Create Memes