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The Surprising Academic and Historical Origin of Memes

In this era, suffering from a spoiled mood common issue; however, it is also easily curable. If you have been feeling messed up, the cure is just some steps away! Pick up your phone, go to your favorite social media page and enjoy funny trending memes. This activity comes with surety to bring you up swiftly. By the way, apart from the enjoyment component of memes, have you ever considered the possibility for memes to have an academic origin? If not, I understand! It is quite weird to associate super entertaining stuff like memes with grey academics. However, if you haven’t thought about this, it’s time to get a deeper knowledge. This article presents to you the surprising academic and historical origin of memes.

The Academic Origin of Trending Memes

Today’s best trending memes are at the pinnacle of popularity from teens to late adults; every social media freak is aware of them. However, few people know about the academic origin of memes. The word “Meme” comes from a term from evolutionary biology. It was first introduced in 1976 by Richard Dawkins in his book “The Selfish Gene.” Richard Dawkins proposed that meme is the unit of cultural transmission. For example, the concepts like funny jokes, the presence of God, fashion, or rhymes (like twinkle twinkle little stars) are transmitted from one generation to another. The roots of this word lie in “mimema,” a Greek word that means “imitated.” Richard kept the name “meme,” most probably because it rhymes with the word gene. Therefore our social media laughing pills are called memes because by sharing them, we also participate in the transmission of culture from one part of the world to another.

The Historical Origin of Memes

The memes on social media sites are units of circulation of popular culture. When it goes viral, it causes other social media users to imitate and transform them. The historical origin of memes comes from “emoticon meme.” Yes! The “smiley” face created from a punctuation mark by Scott E. Fahlman was the first-ever meme. This way of expressing emotions on chats through punctuation marks quickly transmitted to all the internet users. This mass following led to the creation of several other emoticon memes.

After this trend, the Hampster dance meme attracted the eyeballs of social media freaks in 1998. It displayed funny dancing hamster gifs to entertain the audience. The meme turned out to be so popular that the website of Canadian students on which it was originally published became immensely popular. In June 1999, the site had over 17 million visits. It was the first meme to go immensely viral on social networking sites.

The Next Generation Memes

The next generation of memes flourished highly by the cute and funny pictures of pets shared on social media platforms. The groundbreaking instances of trending memes were LOLcats, grumpy cats, and advice dogs. The animals that appear to have certain human characteristics are indeed a vital component of human culture. The most common instance is their presence in fables like peter rabbit. That is why the digital audience could resonate with such content so much that it became a next-generation meme. After the late nineties, the memes started including celebrities and the common man. The fresh trends were “leave britney alone,” “Charlie bit my finger,” “how bah dah.” All of these were the result of either a media event or any viral post. The active digital audience imitated and remixed it to make successful punchy memes. Moreover, it shouldn’t be surprising t know that memes can also propagate certain political ideas. A magnificent example of this is none other than “pepe the frog.”

Trending Memes

Why Are Trending Memes Vital?

Memes are a simple yet explicit representation of the mindset of society. Also, we have immense ease to access them because of social media platforms and the internet. It makes it easy to propagate propaganda. It also elicits the bond of belongingness and helps the online audience to resonate with each other. Their extremely fast transmission shapes us to think within the culture and be more creative with our digital expression. Eventually, never forget the potential of memes to boost engagement online. It would be wrong to say memes are a revolution in the way of self–expression, which gradually happens over time. It would be difficult to deny their effectiveness in busting the stress of social media users by their hilarious punch lines and striking creativity.

Concluding Remarks

Memes are the units through which we transmit cheap online shopping Australia women’s clothing and imitate certain aspects of culture. They can be related to entertainment, roasting, or a political agenda. Even after being the biggest sensation of the online world, the memes originated in nerdy evolutionary biology academics. Also, the contribution of emoticon memes was the stepping for next-generation memes to appear and take the world by storm.

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