Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Internet Memes: An Inside Joke Everyone Shares

     We've all had jokes shared by only two or three other individuals, and usually those are the most amusing. Most have also liked something really obscure, and felt the blind, unadulterated, bliss of stumbling across someone else who "gets it". There is something about the human psyche that values things that feel secret or special. If you have the impression that you're aware of something incredible that few people know about, there's a sense of excitement at getting to let others in on it. Internet memes are a lot like that, except that almost everyone is in on the secret. By simply visiting a site such as Reddit, 4chan, or Memebase daily, you can stay up-to-date with trending memes, and be the one to expose those who may not be online daily to the magic that is the internets. 

(Rage Guy)
But what exactly is an internet meme? The technical definition is:
an idea, behavior or style that spreads from person to person within a culture
So, an internet meme is an idea that spreads from person to person rapidly via the internet, often reproduced over and over in different way, but always holding with the same central base material. Take Rage Guy (left), for example. Rage Guy is one of the earlier internet memes, and many hold to the general guidelines it set forth. Essentially, most memes use a basic formula. Rage Guy memes, and similar ones like Everything Went Better Than Expected and F*ck Yea usually go something like "Panel 1, set up. Panel 2, lead in. Panel 3, conclusion. Panel 4, meme reaction." Many, though, are simple an image that is recaptioned with a similar theme, such as Insanity Wolf (below).

(Insanity Wolf)
 Additionally, internet meme source material can be virtually anything. Take The Most Interesting Man in the World meme for instance. It is based on a commercial for Dos Equis beer. Rickrolling was a popular meme that found it's way out of the internet an into "real life". Basically, if you can trick someone else into clicking on a link, reading the lyrics for, or listening to Rick Astley's Never Gonna Give You Up, you've just rickrolled them.

There are countless kinds of internet memes out there, as new ones are being posted and going viral daily. I'll likely be doing several more posts in this series to give some basic introductory information to the different categories of internet meme, along with the other technology, entertainment, and pop culture news I'll be addressing.

1 comment:

  1. Dammit, I just learned something. I am absolutely NOT supposed to learn anything new on a Wednesday! Whole day is shot to Hell now..