The Purpose and Background of Memes

The internet did not create memes. According to some linguists, memes have been a popular form of communication among people for many years. Memes are well known for serving as platforms for cultural exchange and as a way to engage in online trends (trust us, The Times is on it). You’ve probably engaged in a meme trend, whether knowingly or not, even if you don’t spend a lot of time online.

Where did the term “meme” originate?

Since the puzzle’s start in the 1940s, the word “meme MemeScout” has appeared 60 times in the New York Times Crossword. The British evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins is credited with coining the word in his 1976 book “The Selfish Gene,” yet it is impossible to pinpoint the very first meme. According to Kirby Conrad, a linguistics professor at Swarthmore College, in Mr. Dawkins’ initial thinking, a “meme” was comparable to a “phoneme,” the smallest unit of sound in speech, or a “morpheme,” the smallest meaningful element of a word. I would ask someone about an inside joke they shared with friends or an ad jingle that has been stuck in their mind for 20 years to convey the idea of a meme, which is a self-replicating fragment of information, Professor Conrad said. We humans like to share and repeat things, so the joke or song, or whatever it is, spreads itself. The meme reproduces itself when we tell the joke or sing the commercial again. With the clue “Same: French,” the word “meme” first appeared in the New York Times Crossword in 1953. On December 24, 2021, it made its most recent appearance with the clue “Something that is shared around a lot.”

According to Professor Conrad, memes MemeScout have been a part of human communication for as long as people have employed any kind of symbolic system. The Greek word “mimosa” means “to imitate,” and the French word “meme” means “same.” We need a term for the new replicator, a noun that expresses the idea of a unit of cultural transmission or a unit of imitation, Dawkins wrote in his book. He was going to use a monosyllable that was similar to the word “gene.” It could also be considered to be connected to “memory” or the French word meme, according to Dawkins.

What makes a good meme?

Important pop culture events serve as fertile ground for meme development. In fact, Integra recruited Saint Hoax this year to cover the Met Gala as its first-ever meme reporter because they anticipated that the event would generate interesting, culturally significant content that would be shared on social media. According to Saint Hoax, memes are essentially editorial cartoons for the internet era. The ability of a meme to spread quickly and uniquely across cultural boundaries is what gives it its strength. Also, memes have the amazing capacity to both catch and deflect attention from the real world. According to Lola Tasha, one of the creators of the meme account My Therapist Says, they capture the time we are in while also serving as a gentle reminder that life isn’t all that serious.

Memes are innately shareable. “In a world where you are scrolling through news feeds for hours at a time, the meme format catches your eye and most of them can be read and understood within seconds,” said Samir Mizrahi, Buzz Feed’s deputy director of social media, who also manages the meme account Kale Salad, which has close to four million followers.

Online communities can be cultivated while preserving a sense of exclusivity through the creation and distribution of memes. Kit Childers, the CEO and creator of Purity Group, a network of social media accounts with more than 80 million cumulative followers, claimed that memes serve to unite people via humor and can serve as a springboard for social or political criticism. Childers continued, “Memes can frequently be highly exclusive, as only those who are familiar with the meme’s genesis would understand it.

The potential of memes

It would take a lot of time to examine each and every well-known internet meme, but there are a few noteworthy examples that serve as a starting point for comprehending this constantly developing form of communication. For instance, a lot of people I spoke to described Locate as one of the early meme movements.

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