Using Collaborative Gaming to Engage Arab Youth in Cultural Memes

Sohail Dahdal


This paper examines the use of cultural memes on social media platforms as a tool for engaging Arab youth in Arabic culture and a method of cultural transmission among youth. Engagement in the creation, publishing and promotion of memes can be accomplished if the youth involved in the early stages of the creation process can be trained so that they become highly skilled at the task and at the same time are presented with challenges that match their skills, and have clear goals and measurable outcomes. The paper draws on flow theory’s premise that a state of total absorption, ‘flow’, can be attained in a game-like environment were the actors are highly skilled and the challenge matches their skill set. By combining the viral properties of memes and their ability to transmit cultural content with the strength of engagement that a state of flow can create, the basis for a framework solution to engage youth in cultural content by creating memes in a collaborative game-like environment requires: (1) upskilling the youth involved in the creation of the memes; (2) consulting with local community elders and leaders in the initial storytelling; and (3) designing a game-like environment as a multi-phased competition that requires using the skills attained to perform difficult challenges and that promises rewards in the context of cultural stature and local and regional recognition.  


Social Media; Cultural Memes; Arab Youth; Arabic Identity; Arab Spring; Flow Theory; Collaborative Flow; Collaborative Games

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