By Sam Shi and Adam Hanna
One of the most notorious memes of all time is the Rickroll by Rick Astley. Source: Tenor
Do you know what internet memes are? An internet meme is, according to the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, “an image, a video, a piece of text, etc. that is passed very quickly from one internet user to another, often with slight changes that make it humorous” (This is a very general definition of a meme, continue reading down to find out more specific information about memes.)
The History of Memes
The word meme was first coined in 1976 by Richard Dawkins in his book titled The Selfish Gene to explain how ideas replicate, mutate, and evolve. After YouTube was released, video memes such as the Rickroll became popular, and when Twitter and Facebook came out, image macros (images with large text) and GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) memes also became popular. Early memes were often made by photoshopping or adding text to images and now they are made easily on most handheld devices like a tablet or phone.
In the mid-2010s, dank memes, overused or strange memes, became popular, which became the spearhead of modern memes, which reference TV shows, movies, and/or video games. One of the most notorious memes ever is the famous Rickroll.
So, what makes a good meme?
What makes a good meme is two things, a good photo people have seen before, and a funny caption that makes the meme come to life.
This meme template (called “Daily Struggle”) is famous for many memes on the internet,and ifthe memes’ photo pops up a lot when you search “meme,”then you will know it is a popular meme photo.Some famous memes are the Rickroll, the Drake meme, UNO Draw 25 meme, and the Change My Mind meme, to name a few. The text of a meme can be funny, but if it references something viral on the internet, more people will like it.
Types of Memes Today
There are many diverse types of memes, but the most common ones are listed below:
1. Image Macro: The most common type of meme, image macros have a photo and large fully capitalized white text with black borders superimposed on the top and bottom.
2. Cartoon Strip: A cartoon strip or a comic meme is a type of meme where there are multiple panels with images and a few subtitles to explain the situation, like a webcomic. Some examples include the popular rage comics and the one shown below (Which used the Running Away Balloon meme template).
3. GIF memes: GIF memes are like image macros, except that the image is replaced by a GIF.
4. Dank Memes: Dank memes, according to Dictionary.com, are memes that have been used too often or are fads, causing them to lose their value. It can also mean “exceptionally unique or odd memes.”
5. Video Memes: Video memes, or meme videos, are videos with subtitles, with a similar format to image macros. According to Animoto, “If you’ve been on Facebook, you’ve probably seen a meme video -- a combination of a short video and clever text.”