Sunday, August 14, 2016

That Moment When #4: the Power of Memes

"That moment when" something touches a shared nerve--and sends ripples across the Internet!

The fact that you are reading a blog post is a good indicator that you are at least a consumer and possibly also a producer of social media content. So I could almost take your understanding of memes for granted. Perhaps you have already used a meme-generator to add a funny or poignant quip to the social fabric. This post is intended for those of us who are perhaps a little late to the party. I'll define a meme in the context of social media, provide some examples, and conclude with links to some meme generator sites. Then, we'll all be armed and ready to meme on!

A meme is "an element of a culture or system of behavior that may be considered to be passed from one individual to another by nongenetic means, especially imitation."

In his 1976 book The Selfish Gene, British scientist Richard Dawkins coined word meme, which he defined as "a unit of cultural transmission." The term meme itself, like any good meme, caught on fairly quickly, spreading from person to person as it established itself in the language.

Often, a meme takes the form of "a humorous image, video, piece of text, etc. that is copied (often with slight variations) and spread rapidly by Internet users."

Here are a couple of examples from among thousands upon thousands floating around the hive mind we call the Internet.

Meme generators are websites that facilitate the creation of memes by providing some images and editing tools, Users can add their own text and, viola! Of course, you can always use PowerPoint or even a photo editor to quickly make your memes. But the meme generator sites are nice because they come with the tools you'll need to launch your little gem into the ethersphere.

The original meme generator
Imgur's site
Live meme
Meme Dad
Quick meme
Image Flip
One of Image Flip's popular meme templates (The World's Most Interesting Man)
Good old Photoshop