Kate Miltner starts off the #SMWMemesphere presentation with the definition of a meme as being an idea that propagates through cultures, as described by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins. Specifically an internet meme is a piece of content that has been modified and rapidly shared through online networks. The difference between viral content and meme content is alteration. Meme content must be altered, think LOLCats or the Ryan Gosling ‘Hey Girl.’
Meme’s are traditionally created amongst subversive internet cultures who don’t like their prized content going mainstream. Popularized and disseminated into pop culture by sites like 4Chan and YouTube, meme’s are now developing and originating in mainstream media. Think Usain Bolt and this summer’s Olympics, meme’s are now part of the news cycle. From a folkloric standpoint meme’s are seen as reflections of society’s values and anxieties.
Questions swirl around the meme popularity vortex. Like all subversive things that become popular, now that meme’s have become mainstream will they inevitably lose popularity? Will advertising attempt to capitalize on meme’s as applicable to clients? Will they grow from poor quality cartoons to high brow graphics? And finally, what’s up with the cat vs. dog popularity amongst meme content?
Hear Kate’s event in full and leave us your thoughts:
Beckie Stravers is a New Yorker, blogger in chief at Cubicle57.com, and a social media pusher at MakeYourMediaSocial.com. She loves tweets and the internet, and hopes to see you around the world wide web. She is one of our four Official Correspondents covering SMW12 for Crowdcentric.