By now, you’ve probably seen thousands of memes all over the Internet, thanks to social media platforms like Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram among others. Well, have you ever wondered where they came from?
Before we go deeper into that, let me give you a simple definition of what a meme and internet meme is, for the benefit of those who don’t know.
A meme, according to Wikipedia, is an idea or style that spread from one person to another within a culture. A meme’s main goal is to express a particular theme or meaning that it represents.
On the other hand, an Internet meme is a concept or catchphrase or a piece of media that spreads, usually as a type of impersonation or for entertainment purposes, by means of the Internet.
Where do They Come From?
If truth be told, a meme can be quite complicated to define since it could take on any form. It could be an idea, a photo, a video, a person, a quote, a word or group of words, or even a fictional character. It could even be said that a meme is something that is broadcasted for fun, which eventually becomes viral.
Now, there are a number of online communities that create and spread memes with the purpose of making an idea viral; this practice is known as attention hacking or weaponizing. Because of the global fame that memes have, these communities became especially influential.
Through it all, there is only a little information about how memes spread and how they make use of their influence.
How do They Affect the Society?
Memes might look quite harmless, just something that people do to kill time and to entertain themselves, but they actually have a big impact on our culture. Memes can, believe it or not, change the way people live by influencing popular culture. And certain memes at times target particular demographics, such as teenagers and young working individuals.
Due to its economical and viral nature, memes are also being used by most advertising and marketing professionals. Not to mention that memes have also provided a significant means for many people to gain fame and fortune.
Why do They Matter?
All of that being said, there is still one more question that we all need to ponder upon: “Why do memes matter? Why do we need to care about how memes impact our culture and society as a whole?”
Many people believe that they become a different person online, but that is far from being true. Whatever we do online actually do reflect who we are as a person when we are offline, and so it is something that should be taken more seriously.
I agree that memes have become a natural way for many people to express themselves, but all of us should also remember that everything we do is bound to have some consequences and that we have to be responsible for whatever we do or post online.
Since so many memes are being shared in virtually all social media platform, and mostly done by teens and young adults, it is extremely crucial for them to understand a meme’s true meaning and how it impacts society.
Looking at different posts online, you can see various versions of the same meme, and you can see how some people showcase their ingenuity. However, it is also important to remember and keep in mind that what might seem funny to one person could, in fact, be offensive to another.