What is Meme


A meme is a term used on the Internet that refers to an image, video or even phrase that speaks of a specific moment and that is transmitted through social networks, blog,email, etc. Normally, they have a humorous connotation.

Where the term Meme comes from

The first to refer to the term meme was Richard Dawkins in his book ‘the selfish gene’, where he exposes the memetic hypothesis of cultural transmission. The idea he holds is that the meme in culture is like the gene in biology. Thus, if the gene is the information that is inherited and transmitted in the chromosomes, the meme is an activity that is transmitted between living beings.

In short, memes are a certain activity that is replicated between individuals. It explains, in this way, the cultural development of human beings.

One of the most recent investigations done by Knobel and Lankshear in 2007, found that most memes are not replicated intact, but go through different processes of reinterpretation and modification. This allows to obtain different versions of the same meme,respecting the original idea, which in turn allows its massive propagation.

The nature of the Internet,which is based on sharing information, has contributed to the spread of memes. One of the first documented memes broadcast over the Internet was the animated gif of a dancing baby known as “Ooga-Chaka Baby,” which appeared in 1996.

Evolution of the Meme

Internet memes can remain unchanged or evolve over time by imitation, chance, parody or due to the existence of new content. They usually arise as a form of social interaction, as cultural references or as a way to describe people’s real-life situations. The speed with which they go viral worldwide and their impact on society has attracted the interest of researchers and professionals in the world of communication. In the academic area, models are investigated to predict which memes will spread through the network and how they will evolve. Commercially they are also used in advertising and marketing.

A study of the characteristics of internet memes reached several conclusions about the spread of them. A clear example is that memes compete with each other for the attention of the public. This means that they end up having a shorter life time but can also collaborate thanks to the creativity of Internet users, which contributes to their dissemination and permanence.

How Memes are created

Today there are many web applications with which to create these images or videos. Some of these pages already include the most famous photos of the moment so that you only have to add the text. Others are more similar to a photo editing program.

The most important thing to create a meme is to be aware of the news that arise on the Internet and social networks. In this case it is the present that rules, either a specific fact or an image that has gone viral.