English Research Paper

The Anatomy of Memetic Stickers: An Analysis of Sticker Competition on Chinese Social Media

Emoji 2020 - Workshop on Emoji Understanding and Applications in Social Media |


The creative and complex ways users employ memetic stickers to engage in sticker competitions raise challenges for theoretical un-derstandings of sticker use as well as for the design of graphical elements and social media platforms. This study focuses on a sin-gle, popular Chinese social media platform, adopting content analysis to examine the common features of memetic stickers used in sticker competitions. Through employing meme as an an-alytical tool, six types of features are identified: While ‘flawed masculinity’, ‘humor’ and ‘repetitiveness’ observed in this study align with the extant literature on Internet-based memes, ‘mass media characters’ goes against the grain of available research. Moreover, the identified ‘cuteness’ and ‘erotic content’ transcend the current meme literature. This study proposes explanations for these findings in terms of user practice and sticker affordances and culture, then offers recommendations for the design of graph-ical elements and social media platforms.