There’s a Meme for That: Internet Meme’s World Takeover

Our attention spans are becoming shorter than a goldfish with the latest and greatest internet trends. Can memes be used by brands successfully? How much longer is their shelf life? An exploration of internet fads. Written by Juliet Rocco

It’s been a few weeks now, but it seems as if the memes are here to stay on popular social media sites, especially on Facebook. Photo sharing is getting big, really big.

Do you find this latest trend annoying or are you riding out the wave? By now, I feel like people are just beating a dead horse. I’m not a meme hipster by any means, but enough is enough.

According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary: a meme is a…noun: an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture.

(Oh, and in case you were wondering, I made the Mr. Fredrickson meme myself sometime in the summer and found it when I was digging around in my photo files.)

What’s in a meme? Well, anyone who can pair a witty or comedic saying/observation with a photo like it’s milk and Oreos almost guarantees like/share success. But, what’s in a share? Is it a single person vying for their 15 seconds of internet praise?

Do you think a popular brand name would be able to successfully create a meme and make it go viral? This would have to depend on the market you’re targeting. Why not hold a contest for “best meme creation” for the brand and have users vote on a winner?

I would say roughly half of my news feed updates have been sharing memes or seeing that someone “liked” a photo. It used to be that memes were kind of hidden away in the deeper corners of the internet and hadn’t become mainstream until sites like Meme Generator and quickmeme started being used more frequently.

The success of the meme on other social media sites is thanks largely in part to the sharing features on these websites. It’s quick and easy for users to generate content and get it to spread. People want everything in instant Ramen noodle form these days, which means pressing a single button as a command gives us ultimate sharing power! (You can tell I’m hungry because I keep making food metaphors.)

A list of some of the most current internet fads/trends:

College-specific memes: Pretty much every school has a dedicated Facebook page by now.

“What People Think I Do” memes: Eventually, we are going to run out of occupations and labels of people, or this meme will just die out on its own (which will probably happen first).

”S*** People Say” videos: Lasted a few weeks, but has died down a lot since.

Trending Topic on Twitter – *celebrity name* died: People really have nothing better to post on Twitter? Really? Twitter trends are honestly a whole other level, and I could easily write a separate post on this subject.

Growing interest in Pinterest: People love showing off their latest pins and finds. I haven’t given in to this website yet, but soon, maybe.

Takeaway: I’d like to see famous brands try to create a successful meme. I’m not talking about luxury brands, but ones such as Mountain Dew products and professional sports teams. The sharing power of a single photo is huge. A picture may have a thousand words, but a meme can get over a thousand shares, plus millions of views!

Current blog avatar

Source: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/meme

Advertisements
Tagged , , , ,

2 thoughts on “There’s a Meme for That: Internet Meme’s World Takeover

  1. Hey Juliet,

    You bring to light many of the negative aspects of memes, from how they tend to “beat the dead horse” as well as their lack of sustainability. And although many of these are humorous or witty (or at least try to be), keep in mind that memes are very much a genre of modern social media like YouTube videos, blogs, and podcasts.

    At any point, you could randomly swamp through the much of YouTube and find worthless videos of people being pushed down stairs or trampoline incidents. That is not to discount the importance of the genre as a whole; as long as videos promoting citizen journalism (“Iran, Tehran: wounded girl dying in front of camera, Her name was Neda”) or bringing to light and aiding social issues (like the “It Gets Better Project”), there will be a need for YouTube.

    Same goes with memes, although what you will see on Facebook or Tumblr will be light hearted and comedic, there are mass political and social importance to memes on a national and international scale.

    Nationally: Regardless of your political platform or partisanship, the surge and growth of the Occupy Wallstreet Movement (as well as the various other “Occupy [Blank]” is largely due to memes as it is to twitter. Although not in simple “meme generator” style, Facebook, 4Chan, Reddit, and Tumblr were full of “We are the 99%” inspirational pictures where people took a photo of themselves holding their written life story about how they fit in the 99%. Thanks to this meme, the growth of Occupy Wall Street was rapid and sustainable (though it is largely out of the media, Occupy Movements are still very present on Wall Street and around me in downtown Baltimore today).

    Internationally: We are blessed to be in America, where our largest political complaints are regards to oil pipelines. On an international front, the internet is being used to more productive political means in attaining democracy, promoting accountability, and insisting on transparency. Through Twitter and a variety of memes, we saw the blooming of the Arab Spring last year at this time. As a very real idea of how important memes are to this, think about China. China has very heavily monitored public internet as well as a journalism and media sector heavily controlled and manipulated by the government. Sometimes, the only way to bring light to social issues is memes. One example is when Christian Bale visited China to pay respects to social activist Chen Guangcheng and was viciously blocked by Chinese thugs. Video clips and photos from the incident were quickly turned into a meme to show that Chen was actively being blockaded in his house and a prisoner to the state.

    The current trends of memes will come and go; more often than not they are fleeting and only remain monthly. I know personally I have already stopped posting on my University meme page. That said, the trends don’t highlight the important aspects of the media, only the fleeting interest by the general public at the moment.

    As a side note: I’m loving your blog and your style of writing. What you have to say is fascinating, keep it up, you have a fan.

    ~Lou

    Sources:
    Iran: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bbdEf0QRsLM
    It Gets Better Project: http://www.itgetsbetter.org/
    OWS: http://wearethe99percent.tumblr.com/
    China meme: http://chinadigitaltimes.net/2011/12/batman-vs-guard-in-a-military-coat/

  2. julietrocco says:

    Hey Louis,

    I completely agree with the importance of memes serving as a political aspect. It’s definitely been a game changer in how people form opinions and collectively agree on something and take action. The Occupy protests are a great example. Social media has become a major political platform and I think people are more willing to express their views because it is a lot easier to find others that agree with their opinions.

    Obviously, I could write on and on about the significance of memes as well, but my main focus is on branding and marketing for products and companies. I think since this is an election year it is even more important for politicians to be paying close attention to their own brand and keeping track of what our needs (in our age demographic) are looking for in the next president. We make up a huge market, and for many people our age, this will be their first time voting for a president. It’s going to be interesting to see how involved people get with social media and politics.

    Glad you’re enjoying the blog!

    -Juliet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: