So what is a “meme” by definition

A meme (/miːm/ MEEM) is an idea, behavior, or style that becomes a fad and spreads by means of imitation from person to person within a culture and often carries symbolic meaning representing a particular phenomenon or theme.

Memes – you love them, and you hate them, you share them, and you save them. It got me wondering why it seems that in a day where we can so easily create video content, quick animations, and sync everything to our favorite music that we seem to circle back to (by and large) static imagery with a contextual narrative.

That said I contest that (by definition) MANY content types qualify as memeable:

  • Animated GIFS

  • Static images

  • Looping GIFS

  • “Stories” platforms (e.g. Instagram and Facebook)

  • Short-form video

  • Rips, Clips, and Snippets

  • ASCII art

  • Emoji configurations

  • #hashtags

As much as I would like to say that Memes are this silly little byproduct of the Internet, I believe it to be something larger. I believe it to be a way for people to convey their emotions in an expressive way when perhaps they may not have the ability to do so. Memes also share commonality, desires, anger, all the colors of the emotional rainbow if you well. So the next time you are in a thread and see people “dropping “or reply utilizing a meme or animated GIF, you might ask yourself, “is it simply a clever reply, or perhaps the best way they know how to express themselves? “Because outside of the message that the meme sans it also provides an amount of anonymity, not to be written in the hand of the poster. and just like any good legal document, it gives a sense of, “well, I didn’t say that “, but the meme expressed it for me.

Memes as a pertain to marketing actually hold a lot more hand-in-hand than one might think. First and foremost is you can’t just use any meme anywhere. Most often you’ll find them supporting some type of topical spotlight. For instance, something in the news is trending — perhaps a celebrity or something that might be indicatively branded of the individual poster for a call to action. For instance, for me, it might be a post about heavy metal music or my love for cats. What makes Memes so magical when it comes to marketing is that they do what so many creative advertisements cannot express a particular point, often with very little copy, and in many cases, the meme is shared forward to your friend’s fans and followers.

The great advertising mind and Author Luke Sullivan talks about how great advertising is a distillation of emotion that triggers a response – for instance, something humorous, something naughty, something scary, And so on. The same emotional triggers can be said for the funniest Memes and what makes one better than another. In essence, this is actually taught me is that a meme is; much like an advertisement. It’s a compartmentalized message shift with exponentially less care for design and your opinion.

That said, advertising and marketing often have certain boundaries; boundaries that create a particular call to action but do so in a way that will minimize any adverse backlash to the brand it is representing. On the other hand, memories are often a more visually raw expression of a particular point that in many cases, is used to agitate or confront conversation within the social media spectrum.

And while I once thought it was absolutely insane that someone could be on the news speaking on behalf of themselves as an emoji language expert, now I see that I have over years and years of collecting, creating, distributing. Re-distributing memes see that there is a bit more to it than simply posting the right thing at the right time.

This whole article felt silly to begin with until I fell down the rabbit hole and realized the endless complexity and layers that we go to to make one another trigger a feeling. — we have such sites to show you!

You start a step back and see that memes are like a single pixel in a much larger image. Contrary to the humor built into the vast majority of Memes, it’s the sharing and distribution of Memes that make them powerful. For instance, even the polarizing Democrat versus Republican styles of media bias and content won’t get the sharing and distribution that a meme might.

When you share an article, unless you overtly intend to pre-qualify it with abstinence in your personal positioning, you’re connecting yourself with an opinion of the content. With memes on the other hand, it allows the ‘sharer’ the gift of anonymity in that the humor often tends to beguile the real truth behind the intent of the image.

How many of you have purchased a product that has a meme on it? It’s hard to image that we’d be skewed to purchase anything from a meme? But it’s also hard to imagine that product launches, ranging from sports teams to movies, create a series of C&Pable giphy loops for your social media lexicon. Think about it, how many times have you been motivated to find a post about “Hot Pockets” when describing how badly you burned your mouth over the weekend? Does that make it an ad? Indirectly, yes!

Think about it, creating an ad, and creating a meme require:

  • Timing

  • Topics

  • Emotion

  • Commonality

  • Understanding

  • Call to action


How many of you have visited a meme generator to make your own? Part of the virality of a meme is that meme “generators” exist. These are online tools that allow you to caption or create new or preexisting images, thus creating even more memes. How? For each meme created (even if it’s been derived from an image that’s known for a specific reply, such as “Y U NO ____?) the generator generates and posts the next version you created into the internets ecosystem. As you would, most are garbage and not worthy of sharing, but the multiplier of mathematics still shows that any given meme has an ebb and flow. Yes! Old memes come back with a vengeance dependent upon the trending factors that derived the content.

Did you have any idea that there are actual e-zine publications that focus on Internet trends? The following list doesn’t even begin to touch websites that are forum (specific topic) focused on animated GIFS collection.

  • Know Your Meme –

  • (Since 2008) r/Memes –

  • Sub Reddits r/BRGS/ –

  • Arguably the 800-pound gorilla to online satire is and while not known for it’s memes is instrumental in showing us just how far you can push content to make a point and get a laugh.

  • Meme Insider –

And a shotgun approach to introducing you to the world-o-memes:

And before you get all been out of shape that I didn’t put your favorite within the list, please know that I realize there literally thousands of meme aggregates and E-zines is online. And there’s a good reason to; memes don’t necessarily have to be a standard square image, with (all too common misspelled) punchy copy leveraging the latest topic, celebrity foible, or political gaff.

Share a meme. Make a meme. I’d love to see what makes you tick.

Read more: How a Meme Spreads on LinkedIn