Memes & Web 2.0

meme collage

By: Evan Frohock & Chris Zelante

There are many different types of memes. A “meme” is a virally-transmitted cultural symbol or social idea. “A meme (rhymes with “team”) behaves like a flu or a cold virus, traveling from person to person quickly, but transmitting an idea instead of a lifeform”. A product of Web 2.0, which is the type of internet that is dominated by user-generated content and the growth of social media, memes have taken over all of social media. Only surfacing in recent years, memes found their popularity on sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Without Web 2.0 it is needless to stay that memes would have never gained the popularity they have today. Francis Heylighen wrote a scholarly article on meme replication and evolution. Heylighen states that there are numerous things that make a meme successful. He also states that there are five stages of meme replication. These five stages consist of: assimilation, retention, expression, transmission, and meme fitness. Memes are a perfect example of the way that the internet is used today and shows how much the internet has changed. Some of the most famous memes today have to do with humorous pictures of babies, pictures of Willy Wonka, and other pop cultural fads, all with funny slogans written across the front of the picture. (Click here to see a list of the “” top 10 internet memes of all time.) Driven by our fast paced society, these home grown memes can be made by an average person and quickly find themselves on the front of buzzfeed or TMZ.

Just as memes can go viral in a matter of hours, so can videos and new websites, and there is money to be made by everyone involved. With the internet being the driving force behind everyone’s daily interactions, websites, videos, memes, and all other forms of social media are making a fortune off of their viewers. As websites grow in popularity and receive more views they are given the opportunity to place ads next to their content, which creates millions of dollars for their companies. Websites created out of simple ideas such as YouTube or Facebook have become some of the most visited sites in the internet, and because of that other companies use them for exposure. While you may pay very little attention to the ad next to you video on YouTube, a company has payed countless dollars to receive that space and is one of the reasons YouTube can continue to give its viewers free content.

Speaking from personal experience, creating a meme is fast and easy. Most of the time it is the most simple ideas and immature jokes that create the best memes. Our memes did not gain much traction, because we did not post it anywhere our peers could see.


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