The internet is something alive. It is ever-changing, developing, and adapting to live events. You can blink and skip the new golden age of the latest internet phenomena with technology continually evolving. If over the last decade you suffered from a very long blink, give or take, you may have skipped the divine miracles that go by the tag, "memes." Even if you are someone who does not delve into the latest trends or don’t give a two cents about them, there is no way you have not come across these blessings called “memes” on the internet.
Memes (pronounced as meems) are humorous pieces of image, video, text, and clips that are often copied and spread rapidly by netizens. Yes, memes do not only take the form of photos. They can range from videos to even a block of text! They can be anything as long as your imagination runs wild. It can be even that selfie you took earlier this morning!Iit’s subjective but at the same time, once the netizens or a community starts to accept and spread something as a meme, there’s no stopping it.
Funny meme pictures are indeed their most common formats though. This format of memes started gaining traction back in 2011 and 2012 where memes such as Bad Luck Brian and the Troll Face are the rage. Meme pictures, however, were not the end of this trend. In 2013, we saw one of the first “memes” videos that spread like wildfire - the Harlem Shake. First posted by
DizastaMusic (now known as Joji) in February of 2013, the memes spiraled into fame overnight as even the likes of the NBA started joining the dance craze as well. It’s a simple concept of one person dancing, but as the beat drops, the room goes into chaos. Funny, simple, and easy to digest! These are just the iceberg of what memes are, and this article aims to give insight as to what the other formats of funny memes are and how you can use them to your advantage for your business or website. Let’s start!
What are memes anyway, and why are they so popular?
We have already defined what memes are, what examples of the funniest memes are, but we have not yet talked about how to use memes and why meme pictures are so popular. To give a little bit of preface, let’s go back to the “what’s a meme” topic.
Let's make sure we're all on the same page about the pronunciation of this funny word before we continue with this "everything you wanted to know about memes, but were too afraid to ask" tutorial. The word "meme" is pronounced with a long "e," like the word "seem," but with an "m" instead of "s." Are you scared that if the subject comes up at the next family meeting, you won't recall the proper pronunciation and trigger havoc combined with embarrassment?
A word coined by Richard Dawkins was the first "meme" to explain how cultural knowledge spreads. Nevertheless, whether you're walking around the halls of the local sociology department, anytime anyone uses the word "meme," they're usually referring to a funny photo or a social media video being posted. The widespread usage of the term "meme" commonly applies to the "internet meme," a branch of the definition of the larger and broader meaning of memes.
Image macros, pictures with a bold caption written in Impact font, are the most popular internet memes. Usually, the text would be funny or ironic. Memes can also be a video, GIF, a short clip like in Tik Tok or IG TV, an incident, or pretty much something that can be replicated or subtly modified and go viral across the internet, aside from this familiar type of meme pictures.
Okay, so what’s the big deal with memes then? You already understand what memes are, if you get this far, then the next question in line is, why do so many people use them every day across the globe? Simply put, they are the inside jokes of the internet. They express a sense of acquaintance and significance, being part of something larger. It has now made it easier for you to understand and appreciate this joke because of the cultural awareness you acquired from years of watching TV and searching social media platforms. That's the magic ingredient that transforms memes into viral content from daily jokes.
Memes are, in a shape or form, the humor culture of the internet. Regardless of the color of your skin, religious beliefs, or political stance, everyone gets along when they see a funny meme or two. Even if you don’t get along well with someone, you can share a good laugh when a meme comes through. Here are more reasons why social media is all over memes:
- They are funny and stress relievers.
- They are easy to digest and entertaining.
- They come in many shapes or forms, not only limited by photos.
- They have insane potential to go viral.
- They push you and others to be creative.
- They are flexible, meaning they can be on social media, your blogs, or even your website!
- It’s a culture that makes you feel like a part of a family!
There are more reasons, and we’re just scratching the surface here. But let’s move on to the next agenda: how to use memes properly.
How To Use Memes Properly
The most important part of using memes is understanding the context of the content you share and understand how to leverage its full meaning. The best way to do this is to spend some quality time with Twitter or Instagram, your best pal, and start putting some work on the scrolling wheel. You can always visit Know Your Meme if your Facebook friends prefer a wild bingo night over the sharing of funny memes. This website records internet memes and acts as a hub of knowledge about their origins. The most popular memes can be browsed and common uses of each are checked out.
There are many viral memes that have spanned years, but the more recent ones are the “everything is a cake” meme, “2020 is bad” meme and many more. We won’t have time to cover every and each one of them, but the most important thing to know about using memes is context. Be wary of the conversation’s atmosphere, and whether it’s right to send a meme over it or not. Some conversations are just too serious for a meme, so you might come across as annoying or ignorant if you mistakenly send a meme during a bad time. However, it may also be used to lighten the mood.
It can also be used as strong marketing material. There is this so-called “Meme Marketing” which, as the name suggests, makes use of memes to advertise a product and capitalize on its trend. The reason why you would want to give this a shot is because:
- It’s trendy, which means teens and kids will get it
- They’re usually easy to make since memes don’t require high budget graphics to replicate
- They have big potential to go viral over social media
- They are entertaining and fun to watch
There are more reasons, but these are just some that may persuade you to use them as marketing material. Of course, you have to be mindful of which memes to use and in what context you wish to execute them upon. Meme promotion and marketing might sound like a laughable matter, and it is, but there is no joke about the return on investment. Although an ad campaign or a TV ad could cost you from few hundreds to hundreds of thousands of dollars everywhere, meme marketing is free (if you do it yourself) and will create much more engagement.
But, there is an intrinsic risk to meme marketing: making mistakes makes the brand look detached from the world, as with other kinds of marketing, and the internet of all places is notorious for having no mercy. It can be as harmful to the credibility of a company to get memes wrong as it is uplifting to get them right. Considering their low cost of manufacture and delivery, they can also be handled with the imagination, attention, and consideration that you would bring in every other ad.
As for everything business, make sure you do your research right and make sure your memes do not cross a sensitive line or topic that may offend others. There are tons of friendly and wholesome memes, but there are also those that are not, so be sure to differentiate between these two! A good rule of thumb is that if a meme is liked by the general public, then it’s safe to assume that you can use it as a marketing tool. But, if little is known about the origins and original context of the meme, then stay away from it as much as possible.
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