A brief history of memes
The word meme was introduced by British evolutionary biologist, Richard Dawkins in his work, The Selfish Gene, in 1976 as an attempt to explain how ideas mutate, evolve and replicate. Internet memes on the other hand grew as a concept in the mid-1990s. At the time, they were only short clips shared among internet users.
The growth of the internet contributed to the progress and change in memes. After the release of YouTube in 2005, video memes took over, with many of them being shared through emails. Some of the most common memes back then include “Turn Down for What” and “Harlem Shake”.
The rise of social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter have revolutionized memes, by allowing the sharing of GIFs and image macros to a larger audience. Meme generator websites came up allowing users to create their own memes from existing templates. One of the most popular sites of this era is 4chan, which is widely recognised as the cradle of memes, trolling and alter culture.
Modern memes have changed a lot and are more visually humorous, incongruous, diverse, self-referential and niche. Therefore, they may not appeal to larger audiences as in previous eras but are hugely appreciated by those they serve. The memes are an everyday communication facet often derived from popular shows, people, and culture.
The importance of memes
Memes serve as an expression of people’s opinions and emotions. They are simple, concise and explicit in their messages, a cultural paradigm that is a reflection of the mentality of modern society; one that values entertainment, cheers materialism, and emphasizes the need to be and remain relevant.
Memes can be used as propaganda tools because they spread very fast, hence they can instil and cement beliefs that can become popular very fast. The relatableness of memes allows a feeling of belonging among internet users and has created cordial groups that transverse languages and geographical localities.
The value of memes in modern day cannot be adequately measured. They have been used to lead massive movements and act as a reference for outstanding moments in history. In the crypto industry, memes have been used in popular trends and can retrace certain moments where the market was struggling or thriving.
Since memes are simple to create, they have become an easy way for people to quickly and effectively circulate information online. They have created massive value in this aspect, allowing internet users to quickly follow discussions and contribute without any hardships.
Memes have brought a different market in the crypto space, by introducing and popularizing meme tokens. Additionally, their value in NFTs and gaming projects contribute to the growth of the sector and allow more people to enter the crypto space.
Memes as part of internet ecosystem
The actual impact of memes can be hard to quantify because they have become very common and widely used. They are not only an internet powerhouse but a social phenomenon. A huge percentage of internet users are on social media sites, which has made it very easy to share memes of different types. The sites allow users to add effects, filters, images and text to make their videos or pictures more interesting and relatable.
There are millions of videos created, shared and watched daily on social media, making memes a part of the internet ecosystem. In most cases, people are more likely to interact with social media posts with memes as opposed to regular posts. The massive use of social media and the internet as a daily tool for business, communication, entertainment and education supports the idea that memes are a part of the internet as they can be used in all of these sectors.
The growing number of meme platforms has attracted even more users, who would like to be part of the culture, and benefit from using the platforms. Therefore, it is highly unlikely that the use of memes will decline or die altogether, as their impact and value has risen over the years. Additionally, popular and trendy memes have proven to be timeless, as they get shared over and over.
The internet memes in all their forms are as strong as ever and will grow sturdier with the progression of the internet. The decentralization of social media and meme channels will aid in this growth by allowing users to benefit from their content. The availability of platforms like meme.com is changing the creation, sharing and monetization of memes. This will go a long way in eliminating many middlemen and give creators rewards that will motivate them to create more content for others to enjoy.
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