Memes are defined as an “idea, behavior or style that spreads from person to person within a culture”. More precisely, the word meme was first proposed by Richard Dawkins in The Selfish Gene (1976): The survival value of such memes should not be underestimated. If a band of cavemen are painting pictures of animals on the walls of their cave, it is possible that they will improve their hunting skills. Through this mechanism Darwinian selection can favor memes that aid survival and reproduction.
It’s interesting to note how much memes have affected society today. Memes started off meaning computer viruses but now they also describe any self replicating idea, anything contagious. We’ve seen them come out in popular culture like in the form of catchphrases, songs and viral videos. We’ve seen memes become more serious like with religion and how it can spread from person to person. They’re even used in politics and social issues.
There are a lot of different types of memes that can be found on the internet:
Viral: A contagious meme that spreads quickly through many people.
Start-up: When someone is new to a place or activity they are “starting up”. This includes things such as art, music or dance. Computer related: Any idea on the computer has been dubbed a meme by some dictionary sources on the internet. Memes have had so much influence in society today there’s even studies being done based on them.
I’m going to be telling about how memes have influenced certain aspects of society today. I’m also going to be doing an analysis on this subject, but first let me go over the basics. Memes are basically ideas that are transmitted from one person to another by imitation or other means. They can exist in a variety of forms including music, videos, sayings and catchphrases. The word meme was derived from gene by Richard Dawkins which was used as a biological term meaning “the unit of cultural inheritance”.
Meme being derived from gene is important seeing as it shows how people have viewed them as being similar. The internet has played a big part in memes spreading around quickly since they then could spread across the world at a fast speed. Memes have had to ability to influence society by allowing people to easily share them with each other. The internet has also played an important role because it has allowed memes to be spread to more places than they would usually go which is mainly just where the creator decides to post them.
The first meme that I’m going to talk about is planking, otherwise known as “the lying down game”. Planking started off in Australia among young adults who were looking for something fun and exciting. It consisted of people taking pictures of them lying flat on their stomachs in unusual locations. People would take pictures of themselves doing this while staying still for as long as possible until someone noticed them. This soon became a popular trend and spread all over the world. A month after planking started it had been featured on CNN, ABC News, the TODAY Show and even in PEOPLE magazine. Planking was done as a joke which meant people felt good about doing it. It gave them something fun to do for everyone to enjoy. One of the ways memes have influenced society is through how they have been included in pop culture.
Planking was eventually banned by some governments who thought that it was too dangerous to do due to certain circumstances such as being on a ledge or somewhere that’s harder for people below you to reach. Some companies also banned planking from being done at their establishments since they didn’t want employees getting into trouble.
Planking has been used in advertisements such as ads for energy drinks and even to endorse a radio station. It’s also been used in political campaigns to show how politicians would be willing to do anything just for votes which is why planking was banned by governments and companies.
Another meme I’m going to talk about is the cinnamon challenge. This challenge consists of trying to eat a spoonful of cinnamon without drinking anything or using any other tricks such as breathing through your mouth. The Cinnamon Challenge started off in late 2010 when it caught on with young adults who would film themselves doing it and post the video online to show others.
The Cinnamon challenge got criticized by doctors due to how dangerous it could be, especially due to the fact that most people had trouble breathing afterwards. Doing this challenge was a way for people to feel good about them and achieve a goal, but it could have dangerous consequences if you don’t follow the directions correctly. Some schools even banned students from doing this challenge within their school.
Memes from Meme Scout have affected popular culture by becoming a part of it. They are made for entertainment purposes and can be used to help promote things or ideas that people feel strongly about. The internet has played an important role in this due to how easy it makes sharing memes, but also because it allows them to be spread far throughout the world.