What You Don’t Know about Memes


We send and receive some of them on our phones daily, get mentioned on others also, they’re simply everywhere on the internet, we call them memes. But what do you really know about memes?

A meme as defined is an element of a culture or system of behavior passed from one individual to another by imitation or other non-genetic means (Ijhitide.com).The first time the term “meme” was used was in 1976 by Richard Dawkins, an ethologist and evolutionary biologist, in his book The Selfish Gene, before the invention of the internet. However, today, a meme has become a photo or a short video of a humorous nature that is rapidly exchanged through the internet.

With the development of social networking platforms, memes have become more popular. Most of the first memes were short scenes of some movies or video games. Although it’s difficult to identify the first modern meme, some speculate that the memes of the dancing baby and the dancing hamster in the 90’s are of the primary to emerge.

Today, there are thousands of pages that create memes related to politics, sports, and celebrities. The types have become diversified to include photos, videos, or gifs of funny cartoon characters, people, or even animals. Any big event of any type that takes place now turns into an occasion for creating memes.

This wide popularity of memes has surpassed the fact that they are virtual and restricted to the boundaries of the internet. For example, memes have become a topic of interest for some universities and sociologists as they are regarded as a fast way of communication and a social phenomenon. Also, many companies are using memes for marketing purposes as they are inexpensive and catchy for the public. Accordingly, it’s safe to say that memes have infiltrated the business industry.

Despite their humorous nature, memes can have a negative side. When using some sensitive topics, such as politics or religion, as their material, memes can lead to online conflicts between users that might transform into outrage and violence in the real world – especially if it makes fun of a religious or political figure. Moreover, when a celebrity is used as material for a meme, this might actually impact their reputation, image, and even their career.

Now that you know more about memes, try to be more careful with creating or sharing them. You might make someone laugh, but you might also start a war!

- Mostafa Shoaib
  Computer Science Student