They are everywhere and there are some that we know by heart, memes known to all such as the girl looking at the camera with a fire behind or the baby with a clenched fist … All of those are in our head when we hear the word ” meme ” but, ¿ why are they called memes? What is considered a meme? What is a meme and why are they called that, what is their history or where can we find some of the best known or even create them.
The word meme is much older than you think: it was born in the seventies , but today it has become one more in our daily dialogues.
What is a meme?
Sure we know perfectly identify a meme or we know what it is when we see it. Images shared continuously on social networks, in WhatsApp chats … It is an idea or thought that is usually funny and related to humor and that is reflected in all kinds of formats. In photographs or videos, in comics, in text … And they are shared over the Internet, through multiple channels or used as communication or even as marketing. They are shared on websites, on social networks, in forums, through messaging applications.
According to the RAE, it is the following:
From English. meme, a word coined in 1976 by R. Dawkins, an English biologist, on the ‘gene’ gene model and from gr. μίμημα mimma ‘thing that is imitated’.
1.Cultural or behavioral trait that is transmitted by imitation from person to person or from generation to generation.
- m. Image, video or text, usually distorted for cartoonish purposes, which is mainly disseminated via the internet.
History of the meme
Its name is due, as we see in the definition of the RAE, to Richard Dawkins’ theory that a meme is something that is imitated and comes from the Greek word “mimma” or “thing or something that is imitated”. In addition, Dawkins also defended (as we will see in the next section) that the behavioral patterns of a person are transmitted from one generation to another, as are genes. For this reason, meme comes from the idea of imitation and “mimema” but also taking into account genetics to create the name. Dawkins explains in his book that he would coin the term “mimeme” but later shortened it to “meme” to give rise to what it is today.
Although now it is part of our day to day, the concept of “meme” was born much earlier, decades ago. It is attributed to Richard Dawkins, a scientist who in his work “The Selfish Gene”, published in 1976, spoke about “the memetic hypothesis of cultural transmission . ” The meme is used for that: transmit ideas, thoughts or cultural situations with which we feel identified and that finally go viral.
In Dawkins’s case, he considers a “meme” to be the minimum unit of information that can be transmitted and its name is due to the scientist’s theory of imitation. According to this essay, Dawkins explains that there are two different informational processors: one that works through the replication of genes from generation to generation and another at the brain level “replicating the cultural information of the individual.” This last replication is not transmitted in genetics but is transmitted in a “ learned ” way through teaching, through imitation. That is, thanks to the nature of the Internet and the continuous exchange of information through the network, memes are continuously disseminated as “replicable cultural units” that the biologist Edward Wilson defends.
Diffusion and uses
Where are memes transmitted? The not so young will remember the forums used to propagate them, but today there are many possible ways to see all kinds of memes thanks to the fact that we have access to innumerable social networks , messaging applications, sources of information. We receive them through WhatsApp groups, we see them on Twitter, on Instagram …
What is a meme for? It may be of no use beyond humor, or it may have a purpose. A social purpose, of protest or of all kinds of initiatives. They can be “general” that everyone understands or specific memes for a sector, a trade or even memes that only you and your friends will understand. But all have the intention of being spread, to be funny. And sometimes they are even used in order to reach a larger audience through the use of it in marketing.
Memes are not just for laughing with your friends, but are also used by many brands to get your attention. You may not be interested in a conventional “ ad ”, but if you pay attention when it comes to a video or a striking image and you already internalize the message they want to give you. Something useful, easy and eye-catching .
– Burger King Spain (@burgerking_es) May 6, 2021
You don’t have to put oil on this R2D2🤖 as well as air fryers💗 Do you know its advantages? 🤔 👉 https://t.co/121k2N9GRS pic.twitter.com/7fZh7s6Ihi
– MediaMarkt Spain (@MediaMarkt_es) September 3, 2021
If you want to find popular memes, there are some websites always recommended to find the ones you like the most . We can see new memes or we can also resort to the classics or the most popular ones.
Finding memes: most popular websites
Memedroid is one of the best known websites where we can see the latest uploaded memes, the tops or the most voted or we can simply touch on “random memes” if you want all the themes to appear . You can also use the different tags or the tags to filter by themes. In addition, we can register to save our favorites.
Or you can choose to upload your own for other people to download. We can comment , download , share on social networks or send it directly from the web to messaging applications such as WhatsApp or Telegram.
At an international level, 9Gag is one of the best websites and one of the meme websites par excellence. But we also recommend it if you don’t care about the language of what you download. It is one of the essentials, one of the most complete and popular.
9gag has a menu on the left side of the screen where we can see what is the most popular at that moment or we can choose the different categories available. You can see many options such as comics, cosplay, animals, anime, cars, impressive, wild … Also in this menu we have other options available as trends or we can choose to filter by “Spain” or the country you are in so that related memes appear with themes that you understand.
Social networks, Instagram
In addition, there are many accounts on Instagram where we will find memes of all kinds, thematic memes or rounds of daily memes with which you can have a good time before going to sleep. Some profiles have little or nothing to do with humor but they do share a large number of them with which you will have a laugh, as is the case with Delicious Martha . But there are also other specific ones where the account is completely dedicated to the use of memes, to creating them, sharing them …
Profiles on social networks such as Pokecitas , for example, with an account on Twitter or Instagram and that uses Pokémon to represent everyday scenes, everyday moments using humor that you have surely seen and shared at some time.
The same happens with another of the funniest profiles on social networks, both on Instagram and Twitter: Malacara . From Baby Yoda to vaccines, politics, coronavirus and all the news represented in new memes every day . An account that talks about politics, current affairs, culture. But all with a touch of humor that cannot be missing in your different timelines.
Tools to create memes
We can also create our own from specialized pages such as ILoveIMG , for example. Using an image that we want and adding text or choosing the templates that the web includes with known memes to which we simply must add the inscription or letters that you want to have in your new meme.
You can scroll until you find the one you want or you can use the page’s search engine to search for a specific meme you want to use. Once we have chosen the image, we add everything we want : we choose typography, font size, color, format, background of the letter, aligned, transparency … And, finally, we can save it in the cloud in spaces such as Google Drive or Dropbox or we can just download.