If you have been on social media the past few weeks, chances are you have seen the word “Covfefe” or the phrase “Cracking open a cold one with the boys” at least once. Used as reposts, variations and even memes, popular words and phrases like these are shared at an immeasurable rate, becoming popular overnight.

The “Cracking open a cold one with the boys” phrase is about relaxing with a beer, and according to a Buzzfeed article, was coined by a Facebook page in 2015.

“Back then, it had a pretty standard, albeit above normal, meme audience,” the article explained. “Now, it’s hard to spend 10 minutes on social media without seeing a ‘crack open a cold one with the boys’ meme somewhere.”

Popular online concepts like “FOMO,” or the fear of missing out, “Covfefe,” from President Donald Trump’s Twitter post and “Yaaaaaas” have been widely shared and turned into memes for no apparent reason.

“I believe certain memes become popular because they are the most relatable, not necessarily that they are trying to be exclusive to certain people. It shows a great deal that we place humor as a means to make connections with each other.”

Holly Hill

freshman studying music education

“I believe certain memes become popular because they are the most relatable, not necessarily that they are trying to be exclusive to certain people,” said Holly Hill, a freshman studying music education. “It shows a great deal that we place humor as a means to make connections with each other.”

Hill said she uses Snapchat to send funny videos and pictures, as well as Instagram to share positive messages and different aspects of her life.

“Social media can enhance our ability to create new friendships with ease,”

Hill said. “It can allow us to keep in touch, be informed, and even get a feel for what the person likes and dislikes.”

Hill said it can be a limitation to how we nurture friendships.

Brother Lee Warnick, a communication professor at BYU-Idaho, has seen the effects of virtual media and said he believes it is on its way to becoming the primary form of mass media.

“Because of the technologies, and improvements in the technologies, there’s so many more ways to communicate now,” Warnick said.

Brother Warnick has been teaching digital and social media courses for eight years, and in this time, he said he has seen transitions from general media broadcasting to modern-day social media and virtual communication.

“Because of the technologies, and improvements in the technologies, there’s so many more ways to communicate now.”

Brother Lee Warnick

communication professor at BYU-Idaho

“Just within the span of about 10 years, it’s shifting over to rapidly become the mainstream way that organizations and individuals can communicate with audiences, and that’s not going to change,” Warnick said. “Five to 10 years from now, most of what we study and teach will be web and social.”

Warnick said social media gives others the chance to publish openly without anyone filtering what they say.

“You have the ability to communicate whatever you want to your audience, which means you really have to be careful,” Warnick said. “In five minutes, you can (share) a message with your audience, and that message can do great benefit, but it can also do a whole lot of damage if you don’t carefully think it through.”

Whether students use social media to catch up with friends or pass on the latest meme, the messages they write to an online audience shape the virtual conversations they partake in.