Memes are like genes. Genes being packed with bits of hereditary information and code, memes are the same. But instead of being packed with hereditary info memes are packed with cultural info. Similarly to a gene which is passed on and changed slowly through evolution, memes that survive longer are ones that can be replicated easily, and are able to be passed on and changed through imitation.
Memes, simply put are things that go extremely viral on the internet,society or just in your friend group and they reach insane levels of popularity, like the grumpy cat meme as shown below.
Grumpy Cat (Internet Sensation)
An internet meme can basically be nearly any idea shown in some form of content on the internet, and that is why it can be so difficult to give it a real firm definition. It can be a photo, a video, a person, an animal, an event, a song, a belief, an action, a GIF, a symbol, etc. When one of the symbols or images, is extremely relatable and sarcastic, it often gets shared all over the Internet. Mass sharing gives it its internet meme status.
Memes that are shorter and easier to understand also have an advantage over the rest. Like WHO LET THE DOGS OUT by Baha Men.
The song above probably got stuck in your head for a while, and you may even find yourself humming the song now, or wanting to listen to it again. That song was a massive hit because, first it was an amazing song, and it was extremely repetitive and easy to remember and stuck to your brain, memes work in the same way, in that they vie for attention in your head and the ones that stick the most, are the ones that get passed on and survive, but to contrast U2's 'Numb' (called one of the toughest pop songs to understand) was barely on the charts in many countries, and basically flopped. All in all memes become more popular the more easy to imitate and repetitive they become.
Memes are many things to many people, they are a part of our culture after all. To see what memes mean to teenagers in Coleytown Middle School in Westport,Connecticut. I interviewed three 13 year old eighth graders. First up we have Owen Clarke, when asked what he thought about memes he said:
"Memes can be rude,and sometimes disrespectful, but I still think they are funny and I love them."
It is evident that Mr.Clarke views memes as a source of entertainment and gets a laugh out of them, let's get to another eighth grader who has a slightly different point of view on memes.
"Memes are there to make me laugh, but it's also a good way to kill time. It's a good excuse to use my phone when doing nothing"
Max Calderon's viewpoint is probably more true than most would like to admit, sometimes people just view memes to have an excuse to go onto a electronic device.
Memes can be powerful, funny, rude, and even at times disrespectful Memes transcend all cultures from up in the Himalayas to down in Jericho. Memes are a part of all our lives. Not only for jokes, but powerful speeches like the I have a dream speech or the Emancipation Proclamation. Memes are portraits of our society and that will never change.