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Internet Meme

Definition

An Internet Meme is a concept, catchphrase, or piece of media that spreads, often through social media platforms and for humorous purposes, from person to person via the internet. It can take the form of an image, video, text, or even a hyperlink. The content is typically altered or adapted by each user to create new versions of the meme, thereby contributing to its viral spread.

Phonetic

The phonetic pronunciation of the keyword “Internet Meme” is: “ɪn-tər-net meem”.

Key Takeaways

  1. Internet memes are an essential aspect of digital culture. They are a way for internet users to communicate, share humor, and participate in online communities. Memes can convey a broad range of ideas, from simple jokes to commentary on current events and cultural phenomena.
  2. Memes evolve and spread rapidly. Once a meme is shared online, it is often modified and reshared by other users. This process of modification and sharing can lead to a meme being widely disseminated in a short period of time, often with variations that reflect different perspectives or subcultures.
  3. Memes can have real-world impact. While memes are often associated with humor, they can also influence public opinion, spread misinformation, and contribute to online movements. In some cases, memes have even led to real-world actions and events.

Importance

The term “Internet Meme” is important because it signifies a fundamental concept in the digital communication age. Internet memes are crucial aspects of modern online culture, representing a democratic form of content creation and distribution that enables social interaction, commentary, and expression on a global scale. They often encapsulate shared experiences, humor, and opinions in a quickly digestible and easily shareable format, often reaching viral status due to their relatability and widespread resonance. As a reflection of societal attitudes and events, internet memes contribute to the way we understand, respond to, and interact with the world around us in the digital era.

Explanation

An internet meme is primarily used as a method of communication in the digital world, serving a variety of purposes, ranging from humorous commentary about everyday life and popular culture to more critical and satirical narratives on socio-political issues. Being inherently viral, these memes spread rapidly across social media platforms, websites, and through email. They could be in various formats like images, GIFs, videos, and text posts, often featuring exaggerated expressions or reactions, catchphrases, or situations that are relatable and humorous, thus capturing unique facets of human thoughts, behaviors, and trends.Internet memes also serve as a powerful tool for persuasive communication and are used prominently in digital marketing, politics, social movements, and other forms of online campaigns. In marketing, for example, companies often use memes to engage with their audience, generate buzz around a product, or form a community around their brand. In the sphere of digital activism, memes are used to spread awareness, mobilize support, or challenge dominant narratives. This wide-ranging applicability of memes demonstrates their integral role in the shaping of modern digital culture.

Examples

1. “Grumpy Cat” – The Grumpy Cat meme started with a photo of a frowning cat named Tardar Sauce. It went viral on the internet and became an internet sensation for expressing disgruntlement through captions like, “I had fun once… it was awful”. 2. “Doge” – The Doge meme features images of a Shiba Inu dog breed with internal monologue captions on it. The captions are typically broken English phrases like “much wow” or “such fun”. 3. “Pepe the Frog” – Originally a character in the Boy’s Club comic series, Pepe the Frog became an internet meme sensation. It’s often used to express emotions like sadness or smugness through various captions.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

Q: What is an Internet Meme?A: An Internet meme is a concept, catchphrase, or piece of media that spreads, often as mimicry or for humorous purposes, from person to person via the Internet.Q: Where did the term “Internet Meme” originate?A: The term ‘meme’ was first introduced by Richard Dawkins in his book “The Selfish Gene” in 1976. ‘Internet meme’ refers exclusively to memes that originated and spread on the Internet.Q: What are some examples of Internet Memes?A: Examples of Internet memes can include images, videos, animated GIFs, jokes, phrases, hashtags, or activities. Examples include “LOLCats”, “Doge”, “Pepe the Frog”, “Dank Memes”, etc.Q: How do Internet Memes spread?A: Internet memes typically spread through social media platforms, forums, emails and websites, often being shared, reposted, modified, or referenced by users.Q: Can anyone create an Internet Meme?A: Yes, anyone with an Internet connection and an idea can create a meme. However, whether or not it becomes popular depends on whether other internet users engage with the meme, sharing and adapting it. Q: Are Internet Memes protected by copyright law?A: This is complex, as it depends on the individual circumstances of the meme. Some memes may use images or other content that is covered by copyright laws, while others may qualify as fair use or be created using entirely original content. It’s always best to consider all aspects of intellectual property law when creating or sharing memes.Q: How are Internet Memes used in marketing?A: Some companies use popular memes in their advertising strategies, attempting to reach a wider audience by engaging in current online trends. However, this can be risky as misuse of memes can lead to a negative response.Q: How long do Internet Memes typically last?A: The lifespan of a meme can vary greatly. Some memes spread rapidly and die off just as quickly, while others become long-lasting aspects of Internet culture. Several factors such as relevance, adaptability, and comedic value can contribute to a meme’s lifespan. Q: Can Internet Memes be harmful?A: While many memes are simply fun or humorous, others can be used to spread fake news, hate speech, or offensive content. It’s important to consider the message and potential impact of a meme before sharing it.

Related Tech Terms

  • Viral Content
  • Internet Culture
  • Social Media Platforms
  • User-Generated Content
  • Online Trends

Sources for More Information

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