Memes aren’t only something that your parents don’t get. But don’t laugh too hard at them; they were the ones who invented the modern-day meme. They aren’t solely a result of the Internet, though. The name “meme” is derived from the Ancient Greek term “imitator, pretender,” indicating that it has a lengthy history.
This in-depth study at the origins of our modern-day memes will expand your meme knowledge, whether you’re an enthusiastic meme maker and user or simply appreciate them as they appear on your Instagram timeline. The first modern meme is more than 100 years old! is a placeholder for The first modern meme is more than 100 years old!.
What Is the Pronounciation of Meme?.
Although it may seems strange, the term “meme” was coined by a scientist. Richard Dawkins is an evolutionary biologist who has sparked debate. In 1976, he published The Selfish Gene, a book about evolution.
He defines a meme as “any cultural concept, habit, or style that may be replicated” in his book. The word comes from the Ancient Greek term “mimeme,” which meaning “imitator.” Dawkins intended to shorten the word, and the word “meme” sounded similar to the word “gene.” That definition should put an end to the long-running argument over how to pronounce the word. If someone argues with you, remind them that the word is supposed to rhyme with “gene.” The game is over.
Get a Memetics degree.
Fashion, music, slang, and, yes, humor were all included in the original definition of a meme. In this definition, the song Happy Birthday is an example of a meme. It’s a cultural idea that has been reproduced and has been ingrained in our culture. Memes can even be as simple as the Easter tradition of making ham and going on an egg hunt. Memes are the lifeblood of the internet.
Memetics is the study of memes in their original forms and their evolution into the internet. This means that even if your Social Science degree isn’t working for you, you might still be able to get a job.
What Does The Urban Dictionary Say?.
Now, fast forward to the internet era, and we’re playing a whole new game. A meme is now defined as a “humorous image, video, or piece of text that is quickly copied and distributed among internet users.”.
This sounds a lot like what we think of when we think of a meme. In most cases, a meme is attempting to express a message or a theme. Basically, a meme now is any image, gif, or video that goes viral and is shared to express a feeling or thought. This may appear to be a pretty wide statement, and it is. The meme format that Gen Z is accustomed to today was not always the case.
Following that, the oldest known meme was uncovered, demonstrating that we as humans haven’t altered much.
The Very First Meme.
The first meme as we know it wasn’t in the 1990s, or even in 1976 when Dawkin’s coined the term. It was actually a 1921 cartoon that appeared in a satirical magazine called The Judge . The internet recently dug up the old comic strip and people were freaking out at the similar image format and captioning.
It’s validity was fact-checked and now everyone is convinced that it was the first ever meme. It’s been nearly a century, but this meme shows our sense of humor is still self-deprecating. It’s the 1921 version of how you look with the flower crown Snapchat filter vs. without it.
The Baby Who Dances.
One of the first Internet memes was an animated dancing baby. Some millennials might remember the 3D baby dancing in the corner of your friend’s personal website. The dancing baby was created for Character Studio for LucasFilms and the creator thought it was strange and funny, so attached it in an e-mail to some coworkers and the rest is history.
The dancing baby took the 1996-internet by storm in a very organic way. Seriously, it even ended up on an episode of Ally McBeal . Looking back on it, it’s actually a little creepy.
It’s time for some peanut butter jelly.
After the dancing baby, basically, any dancing gif became an internet meme. The hamster dance was a gif of animated hamsters dancing to “Whistle Stop” from Disney’s Robin Hood .
There was also the “peanut butter jelly time” dancing banana. For those of you too young to remember the dancing banana, when Bryan from Family Guy dances in a banana suit he’s recreating this original meme. This was the early days of what people found funny on the web. The ability to share a moving image or GIF to any platform was a way of sharing humor never seen before.
These next memes are dead and gone, except in the awkward company-wide emails your boss sends.
The Most Basic Memes Are Lolcats.
The Lolcat (LOL-cats) meme is one of the Internet’s earliest attempts at imposing everyday humor to a photo. These were images of cats with text that send a message. These memes spawned the terms “nom nom nom” and “lolz”. “Can I Haz Cheezburger” cat is the most well known of the Lolcats.
Their humor was simple, lighthearted, and often involved snacks. Lolcats represented the wholesome side of memes that are not as common anymore. They are essentially the memes you grandma still finds hilarious.
A Meme’s Lifecycle is a diagram that shows how a meme evolves over time.
Memes on the internet now take on a rather normal form. Most early memes, according to popular belief, begin in 4Chan’s deep, dark vaults. Users on 4Chan are infamous for being jerks, but they are also the ones who popularized many of the first memes.
Most memes now start on Reddit or Twitter, then move to other social media platforms such as Tumblr, Instagram, and Facebook. Internet consumers and content developers are familiar with this lifespan. You’ll have to look for the most recent memes since by the time they reach the major social media sites, they’re almost certainly dead.
Memetic Engineering is a term that refers to the study of how things.
One of the most fascinating aspects of memes is that they appear to emerge naturally. Simply take salt, bae. He didn’t intend for his video to become a meme, but one screenshot and some overused text later, and he’s a meme.
When you intentionally build a meme, this is referred to as memetic engineering. The majority of them were created by 4Chan members at first, and this is still more prevalent than we think nowadays. Consider how memes are created from cartoons or drawings. Any SpongeBob meme is memetically constructed, thus you may call yourself a memetic engineer if you make memes and your parents complain that you’re not accomplishing enough in life.
In today’s brutal meme environment, these next few memes will never last.
Rick is on the go.
The phenomena of fooling someone into visiting a link that sends them to Rick Astley’s music video for “Never Gonna Give You Up” is one of the longest-lasting memes (1987).
On March 29, 2007, a 4Chan link for Grand Theft Auto IV led to the video link, which was the first Rickroll in history. YouTube picked up on it on April 1, 2008, and Rickrolled their entire website. People may not consider Rickrolling a meme, but it’s way or sharing a piece of culture, being part of an inside joke, and it’s viral impact make it part of the meme family.
The graphics on Advice Animals were terrible, but they were hilarious.
Animals that give advice must be among the most persistent memes out there. These memes arose from Lolcats and had amusing captions that matched the animal featured. Advice animals include the Advice Dog, Business Cat, Socially Awkward Penguin, and Confession Bear.
The advice animals evolved into several well-known memes that are still popular today. They also sparked the idea that in order to grasp some memes, the user needed to be privy to the joke’s inner workings. These are essentially the memes that parents still send as e-mail attachments, but for a good reason, because they’re still funny and relatable.
Our Deepest Feelings Were Tapped Into by Rage Comics.
To today’s kids, this phenomenon may appear medieval, yet it’s similar to the first stock-photo memes. From the FU Guy, Y U NO Guy, Forever Alone Guy, and Trollface, Internet users could apply the comic faces to any image or scenario they wanted to convey a popular opinion.
What was revolutionary about these memes was that a lot of them were situations and feelings that were not commonly discussed. Frustration, annoyance, and sadness were all emotions that the rage comics allowed the Internet to talk and joke about.
Next, we’ll decide once and for all whether viral videos are memes.
Memes Can Be Made From Viral Videos.
A lot of people today find it hard to call a viral video a meme, but it checks off all the criteria. The earliest viral video meme in 2007 was “Chocolate Rain,” a song sung by Tay Zonday.
Keyboard Cat, Dramatic Prairie Dog, and David After The Dentist were all viral videos that made us huddle around the desktop computer and open up YouTube. These videos may not have conveyed a message or allowed for personal text overlay, but they did transform into memes. Just think about how the Walmart Yodelling Kid started as a viral video and is now a meme.
Making Memes Out of Real People.
As memes evolved, real-life moments that struck a chord with their audience slowly took over meme culture. This had been done before but in the advice animals format. Success Kid, Confused Keanu, and Scumbag Steve are all an evolution of memes that repurposed people for humor.
US gymnast McKayla Maroney’s angry look when she didn’t win gold became a viral hit. Kanye interrupting Taylor Swift blew up. The internet even turned Hot Convict and Pharrell’s Hat into memes. By 2012, instead of creating viral content, people and celebrities were being turned into memes in a very organic way.
Transitioning From Overlay To Overtop.
It might not sound important, but the shift from having a meme with overlayed text to merely sharing an image and writing text above, below, or beside it changed how they were shared online. Rather than having to go create a meme, someone can simply share a viral image on Twitter and add their commentary in a tweet. From there, it’s easy to screenshot or share that tweet on a different platform.
This has put more of a focus on the viral image itself and allowed for more people to add their commentary to the image.
Continue reading to learn how dark some memes have become and why this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Memes With Shorter Lifespans Than A Housefly.
More and more, it appears that you just have a few seconds to catch on to a famous meme before it becomes uncool. Because something can become viral faster, a meme’s lifecycle is getting shorter. People can comment and share a related meme in seconds now that social media is actually in their pockets.
Because memes have a shorter lifespan, only the most powerful ones can survive. This harkens back to the term’s evolutionary origins. Only the most relatable and simplest to share and comment on memes will survive. Everyone has nervously sipped their drink to avoid confrontation, thus Kermit sipping tea will always be relatable.
In the Meme Pool, no one pees.
The meme pool determines whether or not a meme will survive and enjoy a long and prosperous existence. That is, after all, a scientific phrase. A meme pool is the sum of all memes in a population, similar to a gene pool. We now think of a meme pool as the entire internet, although there are many other meme pools on the internet, including Wikipedia pages, social media pages, blogs, and more.
Back to Dawkins, memes can be exchanged in a mall or school in the old school version of a meme pool. The meme pool determines a meme’s success. Something that is hilarious to Instagram users may not be as amusing to Facebook users.
Too Real For Real Life Meme.
A increasing use of memes for self-deprecation and spitting harsh truths has been one of the biggest meme trends in the last two years. People have noted that memes are increasingly being used to express thoughts and beliefs that would previously have been taboo.
This trend was started by Rage Comics, but Millenials and Gen Z have carried it on with modern memes. Memes are being used by the younger generation to connect with each other on a deeper emotional level than ever before. Memes can be a little too genuine at times, but that’s just a method for people from different cultures to communicate.
The Memeplex is not to be feared.
A memeplex is a scientific name for a meme complex, returning to biology’s roots once more. It indicates that when memes collaborate, they propagate faster. In nature, it’s akin to creatures cooperating to increase their chances of survival.
This may appear complicated, but we use the memeplex on a daily basis. We continue to integrate memes when we believe they share a common topic or can complement each other’s comedy. Who knew that slapping SpongeBob on the Squinting Woman meme would trigger a complicated viral phenomenon?.
What’s Next In The Meme World?.
The beauty of memes is that you can never predict what will happen next. Memes have become the major means of communication for a generation. Everyone assumed emoji would be the next big thing, but memes have evolved into a sophisticated way of connecting, sharing, and engaging to people all over the world.
Parents may find it offensive, but the beauty of memes is that they can be recycled in a variety of ways. A meme has the power to unite and divide people because it allows everyone to express their thoughts and opinions in a hilarious way.