I’d like to talk about my life, but it really isn’t that interesting. Do you really want to hear about poverty in America, counterfeit antimalarials in Uganda, or any number of the other school/work-related projects I’m constantly working on? I doubt it. Only my nerdy self finds that work interesting. Instead, how about we take a little quiz!
a) A mute, french clown
b) A cultural trend
c) The sound the fat lady makes before she sings
d) A narcissistic cry for attention
Too easy? The answer is b. A meme (pronounced similar to the word gene from which its structure originates) is a cultural trend. On the Internet a meme is an idea–in any form from hyperlink, to video, picture, hashtag, or even intentional mispellings like “teh”–that spreads virally from person-to-person through social networks, blogs, email, etc. Usually, Internet memes evolve over time, with imitations and parody.
And now…an example–“Condescending Wonka”
Believe it or not, the “Condescending Wonka” Meme began just over a year ago on Reddit, but didn’t really pick up steam until probably around October/November 2011. Memes take the same picture of Gene Wilder from the 1971 film “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” and place, you guessed it, condescending comments around it. The first one I ever saw made me literally laugh out loud with the caption, “Oh you wear a Northface jacket? You must go on so many adventures.”
Here are some other notable examples:
(I had to delete the examples due to some problems with malware, sorry)
Why all the meme talk? Today, while avoiding developing objectives for my communication plan on combating counterfeit anti-malarials in Uganda (super uplifting topic), I made my first tumblr site which is about to be filled with memes of my own. Except they won’t be featuring the smug mug of Mr. Wilder. Instead, I let the strange profile picture of my dear friend J.P. serve as inspiration for a line of memes. The concept currently revolves around the idea that he is a kind of evil super villain/the most interesting man in the universe/well, JP. Stage 2 of implementation involves introducing other pictures to the mix, but until then–check them out! It’s really probably only funny if you know JP, but who knows? You may be inspired to share one!
Click on the pic below to check out the Tumblr!
A toast, to being rick roll’d! (If you clicked on “What’s a meme?” above, you know what I’m talking about. If you don’t know what being Rick Roll’d is…Google it.)
God exists, if only in the form of a meme with high survival value, or infective power, in the environment provided by human culture.
~Richard Dawkins, discussing the non-Internet form of meme