Tech Watch: The Life of an Internet Meme

Category:  Tech Watch
Monday, March 5th, 2012 at 10:51 AM
Tech Watch: The Life of an Internet Meme by Epic Web Studios
stuffjournalistslike.com

In 1976, Richard Dawkins, a British ethologist, evolutionary biologist, and author, coined the term "meme" as he was conjuring ideas that they are past from host to carrier in a similar manner to genes—replicating, mutating, and every so often, becoming extinct. The term took on a different meaning as it refers to the Internet meme, ideas that spread through populations via the Web. 

These Internet memes skyrocketed to popularity in recent years. They can be an image, action, or even a cartoon that has gone viral. In some cases, even Twitter hash tags have become memes trending worldwide. Internet memes are often found plastered all over Tumblr, Facebook, and even YouTube.

General memes are more based on society—those are intended to become super-popularized and spread across the Internet rapidly. The meme that has gained the most traction lately is the simplest: plain white text superimposed on a portrait of some recognizable character. Some of the more popular memes include LOLcats, Chuck Norris jokes, Rickrolling, Epic Fail and (my favorite) Demotivational Posters. In the month of February, another popular meme spread like wildfire; "What People Think I Do" filled our Facebook newsfeeds. 

Today memes have a strong influence of modern language and culture, continuing to shape how Internet users live their lives. Not only are they Internet phenoms, they also have become a part of pop culture. The world of marketing and advertising has taken notice of the ever-evolving meme and are trying to profit from them. Memes are inexpensive and trendy, which is why they have embraced Internet memes. Plus, its unique characteristic is to spread like a virus. When more people go online, the stronger memes become. Many people have found fame and fortune with Internet memes, transforming nobodies to somebodies overnight. 

Since memes can travel from one site to another, from one social networking site to another, it is impossible to be the sole carrier of the meme even if you are the owner. Being the source of the meme, owners can gain recognition. As the Internet meme gains more popularity, searches will increase, and as a direct result, more visitors will be driven to the website. Successful meme marketing is a lot like viral marketing. It builds up online credibility, increasing social popularity. The meme takes a domino effect: the more viewers that like it, the more they will share it. A meme can reach millions of viewers in a short time. 

The perfect place to test the strength of your Internet meme is through social networking. You can monitor the success of a meme by tracking its popularity, viewing "likes," and reading comments or reviews from other social networking users. 

If you're feeling creative and humorous, then test your meme creating skills. See if you can generate a meme that gains popularity. Maybe one of our Erie Reader readers has what it takes to create a meme so popular that it will put up a good fight with Chuck Norris.

-Angela Kelly, project manager

Erie Reader: Vol. 4, No. 21
Now Available — Pick It Up Today

CURRENT

Progress in the development of an Ebola vaccine is being made in countries around the world, while here at home a Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice gets suspended over some racy e-mails. You'd be surprised at what you might have missed this week. 

Who wins the World Series? Read on, Reader readers. Read on. 

Fans of the Kansas City Royals and San Francisco Giants start boycotting different bands during the World Series because, well, why not?

Development could be coming more easily to a protected stream near you!

Free food, drinks, and entertainment at Gigliotti’s.

IN THIS ISSUE

The story of the car salesman-turned congressman.

These mischievous ladies will kick off the Erie Philharmonic's Pop Series.

October and the annual Horror Fest -- now on its 11th year -- go hand-in-hand in Eerie. 

Executive Chef Michael J. Cerrie brings Sicilian-inspired American cuisine to Erie.

The Eerie Horror Film Fest headlines Halloween attractions.

ESPN gets it right, regional game makes Dead Spin, and honoring an Erie great.

One in four women will be victims of domestic violence during her lifetime. It is past time to take measures to prevent this.

What we can do about poverty, real estate, and the declining population in Erie County.

Peek'n Peak transforms into a German bier festival as part of the resort's Fall Fest. 

From bionic shoes to least competent criminals, it's news of the abnormal variety.