Memes.  The DNA of the soul.  They shape our will.  They are the culture – They are everything we pass on.  While Monsoon may have meant that with the intent of negative emotion, memes have become a common place on the internet.  They are the shared images that many of us have come to love, quote, and mock.  When Richard Dawkins coined the term “meme” in his book, The Selfish Gene, he did not expect his term for spreading an idea, behavior or style spreading from person to person within a culture to be synonymous with a cat asking for a cheeseburger.

Today, the term meme refers to a macro image with or without text that has gone viral.  Some of the most popular ones include Success Kid, Most Interesting Man in the World, and Troll Face.  They can range from photos that have gone viral like Bad Luck Brian or Over Attached Girlfriend to parodies of movie quotes like Taken and Condescending Wonka.  They can even be animals with text, like Confession Bear or Insanity Wolf.  Even videos can become memes with them becoming cultural phenomena, like Gangnam Style and Harlem Shake.  Popular video games have a tendency to create widely spread text memes as well, like Peppy’s “Do a barrel roll!” from Starfox 64 or “I used to be an adventurer then I took an arrow to the knee” parodies from Elderscrolls Skyrim.  All of these references reflect different parts of culture and entertainment.

Why are memes powerful?  They are able to convey an idea using a familiar image or create some value in their reaction.  They can convey a simple idea, usually just a few lines of text, which can be shared very quickly and easily.  The power of the meme is not necessarily the idea, but the reaction it evokes.  If people agree, they will share it, turning a single post into a potential phenomenon.  From a user standpoint, it is fun watching how many times your post can rack up likes, retweets, shares, and +1’s.  From a business end, it can show that you understand what is trending and can create engaging topics for people to interact. 

One does not simply learn about memes overnight.  The best way to learn about them is to enjoy them.  Check whichever social media source you like best for keeping up with trending memes.  I like using Reddit to keep up with memes, but everyone has their preferred source.  Comment below with your favorite meme and when all else fails, always remember, Why Not Zoidberg?

 

Sources: 

Meme quote: Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

Meme definition: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meme

Reddit Memes: http://www.reddit.com/r/adviceanimals

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