For our group blog, we are going to discuss memes. This term may not sound familiar to most people, but everyone at least has seen one online. Memes spread through the Internet quickly and have made significant impact in most cases. In this blog, we will be outlining the history of memes and what exactly the term means. Following a brief history, we will discuss the importance of memes and how they are significant. Also, we will outline how memes are correlated with social media and are used for other activities such as business purposes. Than we will elaborate on how memes are seen in a cultural view and finally discuss memes in film and media. Our purpose for this blog is to inform about how memes are important on the web and how they continue to rise.
Like all phenomena, Internet memes also had a major breakthrough. The term meme is defined as “a cultural idea…that self-replicates and spreads among people” (as cited in PCWorld) and was first used by Richard Dawkins. The term Internet meme is defined similarly with the exception that the idea spread virally. An Internet meme can range from a moving icon, image or video; the idea is to get this concept viral and popular no matter how ridiculous it really is. The very first Internet Meme that came to prominence came in 1996, where the meme consisted of a dancing animated baby. Internet memes slowly started to make its way to the web, which saw an increase in Internet use. Reportedly in 1999, site views increased dramatically, with the numbers jumping from “four views to 15,000 per day” (as cited in PCWorldWeb).
Memes began slowly emerging throughout the years, seemingly with every year having a stand out meme. Memes can be seen as a way to get “15 minutes” of fame on the Internet and gain popularity. With the rise of social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr, memes have continued to emerge and spread even more rapidly.
Dawkins explained this theory of imitation and parodies similar to evolution theory. “Just as genes propagate themselves in the gene pool by leaping from body to body via sperms or eggs, so memes propagate themselves in the meme pool by leaping from brain to brain via a process which, in the broad sense, can be called imitation” (as cited in Kilpinen, 2008, p. 219).
Internet Superstars have also been a result of this viral spread that dominates the web continually. PCWorldWeb has a list of the past decade’s most famous Internet superstars that have gained temporary fame through memes. Who could forget Chris Crocker’s infamous “Leave Britney Alone” plead during the pop star’s turbulent times? The video gained millions of views in a matter of days and was parodied by actors such as Seth Green and millions of web users. Chris Crocker himself has made numerous television programs on VH1 and Maury to discuss his newfound fame. But like Crocker, most Internet stars with famous memes eventually fad away and “step aside” for another new fad of memes. Unless your video is “Charlie Bit my Finger,” which continues to be on the top list featured videos on YouTube almost four years after its release, most memes are intended to last only for a bit.
Speaking about memes and its correlation with the Internet, Quinnipiac University Professor Alex Halavais explains that, “There’s no clear recipe for getting something to go viral. It needs to be easily remembered and passed on… It needs to retain coherence. It can’t mutate too quickly. [And] it can’t be entirely stable.” Regarding this idea, most memes have remained popular due to its hilarious “out of this world” theme that is accessible to watch online and creative randomness that take people unexpectedly. “For better or for worse, members of the new generation of meme makers are doing their best to make a buck or two online—and largely succeeding” (as cited in Ruburg. 2009, p. 34). Even a random video lasting a few seconds that many would find weird can launch someone to stardom which leads to a popular fan base or opportunities to other branches; this is an example to just how powerful memes online can be to an individual.
Memes have also gained much popularity to be used in other sources of media, such as TVs or films. An example would be the wedding dance titled “Jill and Kevin’s Bug Day,” which would later be featured in an episode of “The Office,” where it saw guests dancing down the aisle to a Chris Brown song. The video reached millions of views and continues to be one of the most watched and parodied videos on the web. The parody on the show was also well-received and watch by millions of viewers. The dance alone influenced brides and grooms across the nation to come up with another creative way to walk down the aisle. It is safe to say that Jill and Kevin’s video influenced a new tradition to custom weddings. “Richard Dawkins regarded memes as possessing viral tendencies: their ability to propagate is genetically predetermined” (as cited in Savirimuthu, 2005, p. 322).
The Office Wedding-JK Wedding Entrance
Internet memes have started in the late 1990s, and have continued to soar in numbers over a decade later. With social media and technology continuing to increase, the uses of memes will continue with no clear of stopping any time soon, especially since memes is not resorted to being one main source. Memes can come from videos, images or graphics that spreads the web and impacts the web universe.
“Since the Internet plays such a central role in today’s world and mirrors society in so many ways, Internet data can be used for tracking and verification of mimetic spread, as investigated in,” (as cited in Wang & Wood, 2011, p. 5442). Memes from pictures, captions videos, or icons have caused cultural and viral impacts that have entertained millions of Internet users in various ways. The lasting effect of a meme can entertain people from different cultures for many years and influence many ideas. Memes have even become a source for someone to get famous quick and reach stardom.
Kilpinen, E. (2008). Memes versus signs: On the use of meaning concepts about nature and culture. Semiotica, 171(1-4), 215-237. doi:10.1515/SEMI.2008.075
Ruberg, B. (2009). Cash in on the internet memes phenomenon. PC World, 27(8), 33.
Savirimuthu, J. (2005). Open source, code and architecture: It is the Memes stupid. International Review Of Law, Computers & Technology, 19(3), 341-362. doi:10.1080/13600860500348663
Wang, L. , & Wood, B. (2011). An epidemiological approach to model the viral propagation of memes. Applied Mathematical Modelling, 35(11), 5442.
By Heather Bertram
If you break down the words social media into a more basic concept, you get a social instrument of communication. As much as many people think that the concept “social media” is new, it has actually been around since the 1950s which is actually longer than digital media which originated in the 70’s (Borders, “A Brief History of Social Media”). Social media started with the telephone and is now in computers, smart phones, tablets, and all kinds of modern forms of technology. In approximately June of 2009, Social Media began being shared with applications to download music such as Napster and Limewire. Later on, this led to Social Networking and Social News Websites like Myspace and Facebook. “Social networking is built on the idea that there is a determinable structure to how people know each other, whether directly or indirectly” (Churchill & Halverson 14). These social networking sites greatly increased the field of marketing and made it easier for people to spread business by “word of mouth.”
Word of mouth is the spread of communication of something from person to person by speaking. Traditionally, this took a lot of time and effort, but with social networking, you could update a status on Facebook and instantly spread a message to hundreds of people. (Qualman 2).
Here, is where the topic of “memes” come into play. Although people may not know exactly what a meme is, most have seen them and just didn’t know they had a name. Memes are, “easily imitated and transmitted images that cross social networks because they resonate with common experiences, from enjoying the beauties of nature, to personal identifications with branded products” (Lasn 1999). Since people love to relate to others and share common interests or experiences, the popularity of memes has increase greatly in the past couple years. Although there is a light heartedness in the reasons people make, share and talk about memes, memes are actually very important in the stepping stone process to the future of technology and how it affects our means of communication. If Social Networking wasn’t a concept ever invented or thought up, many businesses would not exist, many friendships and relationships may have never been built and many people would have to find other means of communication, marketing and advertising. This same type of thinking applies to memes as well. If memes had never been thought up, people would not be able to share messages, jokes, ideas, entertain one another and most young adults would not be informed on the various hot topics of this generation.
Like most things involving the ever changing fads of this generation, memes come with unspoken guidelines and almost a whole other language to catch onto if you choose to check them out.
The video link above really gives the viewer the full impact of how common memes are and how many different ones are out there. It also includes text at the bottom written in “meme language.” Though there is no real definition of what meme language is, the viewer will notice the patterns with the different words used for certain categories of memes.
For example, one of the most commonly shared meme is the “lolcat” meme. Cats are considered to be the most viewed topic on Youtube and in the meme world, they are just as important. When trying to understand a lolcat meme, you have to take a few things into consideration: kitty pidgin will almost always be used for comedic purposes. “Kitty pidgin” is the language used for the text written above and/or below the photo of the cat meme. Kitty pidgin is not written with correct grammar but rather written in singular verbs to show innocence or unintelligence. Below, is the perfect example of kitty pidgin.
Another example of an important meme to know about is the “Rickrolling” meme (which came up often in the chorus of the video above. Rickrolling is when you trick someone into clicking a link to a music video for the 1987 Rick Astley song “Never Gonna Give You Up “. The link is often masked with something else, so the person has no idea that the video is going to pop up. When the video does come up, bam, you got Rickrolled.
This is the video that would show:
Lastly, another common meme to add to the list is the “fail” meme.
As shown above, fail can mean the opposite of success or win. In these memes, fail is used as a verb just like in English, although it is usually on its own. It implies that whatever happened in the picture did not work like it was suppose to. Often times, the word epic to add emphasis. So you could see a picture like this one,
And know that the “fail” of this photo is more severe than a regular fail meme.
The more someone sees and becomes familiar with memes, the more fun they can have with it. They could even make their own memes and share them with friends, family or the public. Since there are millions of memes, you can never really run out of them to look at because of all of the categories and diversity in the ideas that people give to their memes.
Borders, Brett. “A Brief History of Social Media .” Copy Brighter Marketing. N.p., 02/06/2009. Web. 1 Mar 2012. .
Churchill, Elizabeth, and Christine Halverson. “Social Networks and Social Networking.” IEEE Computer Society. (2005): 14-19. Web. 1 Mar. 2012. .
Lasn, K. 1999, Culture jam: The uncooling of America, New York, William Morrow.
Rick Astley Never Gonna Give You Up. 2008. Video. Youtube
The Meme Song. 2011. Video. Youtube
“Top 10 Internet Memes.” Squidoo. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Mar 2012. .
Qualman, Erik. Socialnomics:How Social Media transforms the way we live and do business. New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons Inc., 2009. 1-84. Print.
By LaTecia Yarbrough
In my post I will be explaining the uses of memes and why they are important to social media. I will show some of the ways people and businesses use memes. I will link how verbal and non-verbal plays a huge part in internet’s social media memes. Lastly, I demonstrate the importance of memes in social media.
Meme’s has increased our usage of non-verbal communication in internet’s social media. When using five important non-verbal behaviors: Kinesics, Physical Appearance, Artifacts, Environmental factor, and Silence. Each of these behaviors is used in worldwide media, and it has also enhance the interpersonal connectivity in cross-culture communication.
Kinesics refers to body position and body monition, including those of the face (Wood, 2008, page 100). In memes we use Kinesics to express emotion, about how we feel at the moment. They are also use it in several memes such as pictures, cartoons, and video so we can capture the moment. Second, Physical Appearance is how we look, including the culture meaning, values, and expectation associated with looks (Wood, 2008, page 101). The cool thing about memes is that you can express your culture, values, and it also allows you to play with people’s perception of yourself. Third, Artifacts which are personal objects we use to announce our identities and to personalize our environment (Wood, 2008, page 103). Memes play an enormous part, in a ways where you take pictures or shoot videos that share your cultural identities with the rest of the world. This also helps other cultures to understand our identities and environment, which they can find the relationship between the two cultures. Fourth, Environmental factors are element of settings that affect how we feel, think, and act (Wood, 2008, page 105). On social media like face book, depending on the environment factor. It will affect what memes you would use basic on your mood. Final, silence is lack of sound; it can be a powerful form of nonverbal communication (Wood, 2008, page 108). A meme that is used with no words can say a thousand words.
Wood, J.T., (2008). Communication Mosaics an Introduction to the field of communication
In the article “Collaborative, Capturing interpreting, and sharing of experiences” there goal was to make human and computer be better in interpersonal skills by using verbal/ non-verbal communicant. Having good communication skill takes you far. So learning about how memes works well in this situation, because it has become a worldwide fad. This will help and improve the human and computer interpersonal skill by understand social media finer. Digital multimedia use technologies, to capture and store interaction on a large scale, by using verbal and non-verbal communication. This is also something that meme does as well it captures and stores verbal and non-verbal communication. Memes has expanded the social media communication for not only entertainment, but for other things as well. Memes are used in video clips, images, music, and cartoon as a source of expression. Businesses have also used memes in advisement to increase sales by connecting to social media. People have also used memes to purpose to their significant other.
Sumi, Y., Ito, S., Matsuguchi, T. (2006).
Collababorative capturing, interpreting, and sharing of experiences. Spring-Verlag London,
11: 265-271. Doi 10.1007/s00779-006-0088-1
Meme Proposal | Tim * Audrey from Crazy Monkey Studio on Vimeo.
“Music to my eyes: Cross-modal interactions in the perception of emotion in musical performance” deals with memes. This article explains how we use music to express our emotion, and expressive it several words. The article discuses there are 19 different emotional quality that are used in a artist performance. When an artist uses these qualities and good non-verbal they become better performers. By using no-verbal and body moment is how they discovered how the emotion is portray through music. People have use memes to help better explain the message there trying to convey through their music. Memes have a very important role in today’s social media.
Vines, B. W., Krumhansl, C.L., Wanderley, M. M., (2010).
Musicto my eyes: Cross-modal interactions n the perception of emotion in musical performance.
Elsevier. 118 157-170 dio 10.1016/j.cognition.2010.11.010
In the article “Gesture-based mobile training of intercultural behavior” explains that verbal and non-verbal is not perfect. The article states that “the main reason for problem in intercultural communication.”(Rehm, 2011, page 1). Communication is different between an individualist culture and a collective culture. However in all communication we face problems with communicating across borders, but we may not understand what their culture, values, and morals. Memes have allowed cultures to take one meme and have mutable understanding. I believe memes have done a great job with allowing cultures to take one meme and put their own definition to it.
This picture can say a thousand of words, and you can interpreted it in many ways. This meme uses the non-verbal behavior silent.
Rehm, M., Liechten, K., (2011).
Gesture-based mobile training of intercultural behavior. Spring-Verlag London,
18:33-51 doi 10.107/s00530-011-0239-8
Why is memes important you say? Meme’s have helped enhance social memes communication in video, music, images, and cartoons. It has help for not only people like you and I but also businesses. This has help people who are not capable of doing face-to-face communication. Memes have not only helped in interpersonal communication but in cross-cultural communication. Memes have expanded the five non-verbal behaviors, by making it fun and entertaining. Just like face book is a way to relax and connect with friend, memes do just that. Check out memes and have one created just for you.
(How memes serve, this topic includes how they are like world-wide inside jokes)
As culture changes, a persons views on how and what is used to represent culture changes as well. For example a women that cheated on her husband, or a man who got a divorce would be shunned from society. Offenders were even known to be forced to wear large red A’s on all of their clothing to symbolize that they were adulterers as well as reminding others and themselves of the horrible crime (shame the offenders). Men that divorced had a hard time getting jobs because they were viewed as failures. When men failed at their marriage they were considered weak and couldn’t be trusted to run or operate in the office. The humiliation of the divorce and the way that were shunned has evolved in today’s society. In todays culture we use memes to serve as a source/gateway to humiliation, retaliation, or just a massive world-wide joke as oppose to a big A on a shirt or a divorced spouse struggling to get a jobs. In this portion we will talk about how Memes are a representation of our current culture, trends and popularity. I will focus on entertainment, divorce, and obesity because they are consistently growing issues and topics in America.
Below is a Video containing memes that has become very famous over the years.
What’s hot! Reality TV.
The need for reality television is immense. There are a wide variety of shows that range from the everyday life of a midget to the life of a rich and famous heiress. Memes are used to create humor about certain snippets of film, whether it be a video clip, a picture or other types of technology used for entertainment. This shows diversity, growth, and innovation within persons around the world through their ability to connect and except other cultures around them through the use of memes. Everyone can find humor in a memes especially when they pertain to something that you specifically care about.
Memes help explain a wide variety of expression to what people are thinking in their head but don’t care to say out loud. For example the reality-hit television show Jersey Shore’s popularity has grown so big the cast members are internationally known. Other things that are going on in the world are just as important but the younger generations interest in reality television is greater. We use memes to bring attention to one’s interest and how shows can be a problem, or even the effect that watching these shows have on individuals. Below is a vedio clip meme of a little boy dancing at a basketball game. Due to the fact that it is a video clip the host verbally use their words to express the humor behind the clip. Also below is a picture meme where the artist is expressing their feelings about the show, “Keeping up With The Kardashians” by putting pigs butts in place of the Kardashians faces.
America is known for having the highest divorce rate in the world. Some even ask why bother to get married when you have people like Kim Kardashian spending 10 million on a wedding and getting divorced 72 days later. Being that this was her second marriage and everything about it was so public made the outcome of the divorce so scandalous. There are plenty of Memes that capture both serious and comedic aspect of how the divorce rate in America is viewed. Being a Divorce nation has its perks right? We are a society that values money and are naturally greedy. As an American, there is nothing wrong with more. These memes give a representation of the phrase “The more the better!”
Divorcerate.com claims, “The Americans for Divorce Reform estimates that possibly 50 percent of marriages will end in divorce if current trends continue by the year 2015.” Which is actually a projection. Findings on their website say that men and women from the ages of 20 to 24 have the highest percentage of divorce with an all time high of 38%. It could even be higher at this point with the new studies coming out for the year 2012.
Meme’s help to bring light to the effects of these issues. They make divorce a joke because it is such a problem. One of the memes below shows a little boy questioning divorce but on the contrary he looks excited because he will get two Christmases, one from his father and one from his mother but it also mocks the value of marriage and what americans value in america, wealth. There is another meme that depicts greed and wealth. Kobe Bryant is one of the higest paid NBA players and recently announced that he will divorce his wife! He has no prenuptial agreement so that means his soon to be ex-wife will be entitled to half of his net worth, plus more because of the length of their marriage and due to the fact that she has two kids by Kobe.
Obesity (in this topic memes are used to bring humor or information about obesity in America)
Meme’s are a representation of our current culture, trend, and popularity. They also serve as a world-wide inside joke. America is known as an obese nation. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one-third of adults and one sixth of children in America are obese. If there were 30 children in a classroom about 5 to 6 children in that classroom would be obese. That is 6 too many. In comparision with if there were a college campus with 20 adults 4 out of 20 students would be obese.
Although america is followed by this stigma we also seem to have a double standard as to what is beautiful. Models are known for their small waist and long legs, but how does that fit into how they are represented in today’s society? The pressure for women to be and stay skinny rises but what is presented in the average everyday culture is a size 8. Memes can be used to show this disparity as well as the change in cultural views on weight. According to Joanna Douglas a senior editor for yahoo’s beauty and fashion article, “As many of you ladies probably know, boobs get bigger when you gain weight (and shrink when pounds are shed), so this increase in bra size is mostly because obesity continues to grow in this country.” Below is a Meme that represents the shift in favor of what body weight became excepted amongst society.
Due to the severity that obesity is having on our nation we would use meme’s to represent our feelings and attack methods. They also allow you to understand how others feel about large growing issues such as obesity. Below are pictures that go all different ways.
Now that we know the effects of obesity we can point out how some memes are used as retaliation. This meme could also translate into a growing issue for bullying. There has become a large forum to combat the issues of bullying and we could also uses memes to represent both sides of the story.