For starters, a meme is an image, video, piece of text, etc., typically humorous in nature, that is copied and spread rapidly by Internet users, often with slight variations. It is pronounced meem and not mey-mey, so familiarize yourself with the correct usage before we dive deeper.
The word meme was coined by Richard Dawkins in his 1976 book The Selfish Gene, to explain the way cultural information spreads. According to Google Trends, which tracks how often people search for particular terms, “memes” actually surpassed “Jesus” in August 2016. Up until then, “Jesus” has consecutively been the most searched term since 2011. Of late, this meme trend has transcended boundaries and is now a powerful form of online expression. Why are memes so successful? I believe there are some success factors attached to it.
- Memes are ironic, short-lived, parodical and convey a serious issue in a lighter vein. Let me reinstate using personal experience. When I first met my friend Max in college as part of a team project, he came across as socially awkward (pardon, the word is used for lack of an apt replacement and my vocabulary deficiency) and very private. We took our sweet time to know each other and often I wouldn’t understand his Irish accent and had to ask him to repeat what he just said. I wanted to convey this to him but in a manner that does not hurt our relationship. That is when meme came to my rescue.
- Content is primary, the photo is secondary. I’ve witnessed a lot of memes that did not have any content and were only posted because the photo was worthy. The result? They failed miserably. True, an apt photo elevates the success rate of a meme to greater bounds, but a photo alone without valuable content is bound to fail.
- Shorter memes; no swear words.
- Bringing a completely non-related photo to put across an idea. Often, successful memes are ones that make people laugh not just for the content but also for the creativity the creator has shown by linking completely contrasting/ non-relating photos with the actual content.
Thus, though no particular format has been proven to be effective to predict a successful meme, the studies and statistics say that the trend is here to stay and one could master the art of meme creation with practice.
HAPPY MEME-ING 😉
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