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Meme: definition and meaning

Rchard Dawkins with the caption: 'that is not what I meme'

The dictionary meaning for Meme is an idea, style, or behavior that spreads through imitation within a culture and has symbolic meaning towards a particular theme.

In simple terms, it is the unit of cultural information spread by imitation. Another definition for Meme can be "an image or video with the bold text copied, altered and spread by internet users."

Meme generators

What is a meme, and why should you care?

A meme is the imitation and flow of ideas so that those ideas can survive through generations. We should care about memes because, just like any other new age concept, they have become a way of communicating ideas between like-minded people.

It goes beyond the barriers of language, ethnicity, generation gap. It delivers ideas or messages that are simple to understand yet powerful.

What are Memes, and how should you use them?

"Meme" was initially first coined by Richard Dawkins to show the spread of cultural information. But today, the usage of this word "meme" means 'internet memes," which are funny videos or pictures found everywhere on social media.

Most memes are images having captions written in bold letters. The text is usually sarcastic or humorous. Apart from this, memes can also be videos, GIFs, saying that they can be modified and spread across the Internet. You can express a thought, a point-of-view, or opinion through a meme.

The most critical part of using a meme is to understand clearly in what context you are using the Meme and to make use of its meaning. Memes are meant to be funny or, at times, sarcastic. So, using the right Meme can be a little tricky.

Understand your audience

You need to understand your audience and perceive their tastes and how they will receive it. If you share memes within a closed group of friends, it is not a big deal. But when you share it in a public group or use it for advertising something, then choosing the right Meme is crucial.

Make sure that your Meme justifies the purpose of using it. You can browse the Internet to get the meaning of the Meme to suit your purpose.

The Origin of Memes

The word "Meme" made its appearance in 1976 in Richard Dawkins's book, 'The Selfish Gene.' Dawkins referred to the Greek word "Mimeme," which means something that can be imitated. He was relating to the imitating quality of genes that is vital for survival. Later, the word was shortened to "Meme" as it sounded similar to the word gene.

Dawkins used this word as he was trying to understand whether we could measure the spread of ideas and their propagation through generations. So, in simple terms, a meme is to a concept as a gene is related to a physical trait. Dawkins also believed that anything that can evolve (ideas and memes) would do it through natural selection.

Why is it called a Meme?

A Meme has this name because, just like genes, they imitate, evolve, and survive. Its definition has undoubtedly narrowed down to an inside joke widely used on the Internet.

The modern idea of the word Meme justifies the purpose: replication, selection, and evolution of views on the world's biggest platform – the Internet.

Meme generators

What is an Internet meme and where do memes come from?

How are internet memes made?

Most memes are created using variations of the html canvas api. On its own, the html canvas is a fairly innate object. Only given the breath of life by copious amounts of javascript.

A new png or jpg image is created using the origin photo and any added text. Some developers use frameworks to make the process of coding much quicker. However: such frameworks often limit the programmer’s creativity. While requiring much more effort, writing the programs from scratch allows more variation.

The original concept is very different: Internet Meme refers to memes that spread rapidly through the Internet for humorous purposes primarily through social media. It happens through direct mail, blogs, web pages, and SNS platforms like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

Internet memes can be a picture, a GIF, or a short video with a funny or sarcastic message. The excessive usage of social media has led to the viral popularity of this kind of content.

Who makes them?

Internet meme designers fall into two distinct categories:

  • Online and offline businesses, to promote their business or products
  • Anyone with a desire to express their thoughts in a more visula way

What marketers should know about Memes?

A good marketer will always try to capitalize on investing in the current trends. Investing in good memes is one of those. Marketers should know that Memes are an excellent way to represent their brand and advertise new or existing products.

Like any viral thing on the Internet, even memes can be the right way for marketers to connect with customers. There are specific points that should be kept in mind while incorporating memes in marketing:

  • Relatable
    Make memes that are easy for your target audience to relate to or keep them interested. If your audience loves it, it will help you gain loyal followers and increase the Meme shareability.
  • Correct visuals
    Correct visuals are essential for the success of a meme. For better results, use a popular image or video that goes well with your plan or marketing strategy.

The lifecycle of Memes

Well, memes' lifecycle is pretty much straightforward; someone creates it, then it gets copied and altered and shared on the Internet. Since creating a meme is pretty easy, it also becomes easy to modify it before sharing.

You can use any popular image, video, or GIF and use bold texts to emphasize your captions. Just the necessary editing skills will do the work.

Memes do not die; some may become unpopular and unused as new ones fill up our social media timelines. The longevity of a meme depends on the number of times we copy and share it. As a meme becomes viral, its usage will grow and give it longer shelf life.

Then of course there’s technological advances. Just as the internet hijacked Richard Dawkins’ interpretation of the meme, the same fate could await the internet meme.

Perhaps the humble internet meme will evolve beyond all recognition. already they have evolved beyond the original concept to the point that the two are incomparable.

What do you Meme

Next time you want to have some fun with friends or family, you can use the card game 'What do you meme?'. This card game is all about creating memes and is allowed for 17+ only. With 360 caption cards and 75 photo cards, compete with your friends to make the funniest memes. The perfect fun game for an adults-only party night with friends and family.


So, why are you waiting? Everything you need is here at your fingertips. Start making your memes and enjoy the limelight when they go viral.

Meme generators