The History of Memes – Through The Years
Can you imagine a life without memes? Yeah, we couldn’t either! After all, what would the world be without them? Cold and empty, that’s what!
These are questions not many people never imagine possible because of the popularity of memes today.
Hardly a day ever goes by without bumping into one or two memes on the web. The interesting bit about it is, this is not only a phenomenon in the USA but all over the world as well.
Thanks to the internet and social media, memes have been integrated into pop culture and everyday life. They are a way of life. They help to cheer people up especially because most of them are funny and sarcastic.
Memes play a role in pointing out some of life’s mysteries and intrigues in a humorous way. Memes are very specific and subjective to the area of origin.
So it is possible that a visitor in the area would not quite understand the underlying humor or message. As normal as they are to us, many people can’t exactly define what memes are or where they originated.
Memes, pronounced as meems, not memes, are activities, catchphrases or pieces of media spread for humorous reasons, via the Internet.
There is a viral aspect of memes that cannot be denied. Today, there are people whose sole job description is being a meme creator. Making people laugh is a career that never goes out of style.
There are whole social media pages created for the sole purpose of distributing these sensational media forms.
Believe it or not, memes did not emerge from the internet age and internet age. It is actually a theory that was coined long before by evolution theorist Richard Dawkins.
In his 1976 book titled ‘The Selfish Gene’, Dawkins referred to it as Mimeme which directly translates to ‘that which is imitated’ in Greek.
He formed the word in an attempt to measure ideas passed on from generation to generation. Just as genes evolve through natural selection, he aimed at proving that ideas mutate too.
Memes also existed before Dawkins in 79AD where they popped up in a Pompeii ruin. They also existed as Grafitti.
It took about fifteen years since the first mention of the word for memes to resurface once more. The memes that started the humorous trend were not as sophisticated as today’s are.
They were simplistic in nature and quite general. For example, there was the dancing baby meme that hit the world wide web with a bang. The LOLCats meme was also a successful one that made rounds online in the early days.
These memes were filled with spelling and grammatical errors, coined in a spelling style called lolspeak. The cats in the images were personified and given lives of their own.
Slowly but surely, the memes started to have a life of their own. Creators started getting them from scenes of movies and songs such as Kim Kardashian crying and Taylor Swift’s song ‘I Knew You Were Trouble’.
Unlike the older memes, memes today have a very short lifespan in that, they could go viral today but be long forgotten by tomorrow. Before the internet came along, memes had some cultural and political significance, and they lasted longer.
One fear that developed due to memes is the fear of becoming one. Many people have been turned into sensational memes for being in the wrong place at the wrong time or posting the wrong picture.
Photoshop has been widely used as a photo editor but people have exploited it to hilariously make fun of others.
Memes are passed on from one person to another through social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Whatsapp among many more. They also great conversation starters and help break the ice between people.