December 27, 2012

Thanks For The Meme-ories

Okay, before starting in on the meme, I want to give credit where credit’s due. The title for this blog came from a discussion I had with a friend. He used this phrase, and it is just perfect for this post, so I wanted to acknowledge Jay. Should you read this, Jay, thank you for the perfect title.

Now onto memes. On December 23, 2012, NPR reported on the meme and its history as well as the best memes of 2012. Before breaking down the best of the year, let’s identify what a meme is.

According to the Urban Dictionary website, a meme is, “an idea, belief or belief system, or pattern of behavior that spreads throughout a culture either vertically by cultural inheritance (as by parents to children) or horizontally by cultural acquisition (as by peers, information media, and entertainment media.” What this means is that memes are photos, posters, videos, songs, and other visual and audio formats that are shared through blogs, email, social media, and websites. Well, at least this is how memes spread in the 21st century.

NPR guest Don Caldwell from Know Your Meme, the Internet Meme Database, said that memes should say something about the person sharing them and answer questions such as “Who am I” or “What do I think.”

Right, so, these are those posters, images, and videos that people share online all of the time. We have become accustomed to their presence and use them to state our positions, bring attention to issues, and even just get a laugh. So, let’s look at this year’s top 10 memes from Know Your Meme.

10. Shit People Say—this series of meme parody videos explore social and gender stereotypes.

9. What People Think I Do—this series of visual charts depicts a range of preconceptions and misconceptions associated with a particular field of occupation or expertise.

8. Overly Attached Girlfriend—this advice image features a webcam picture of a girl with various captions that portray her as the clingy girlfriend.

7. Ermahgerd—this meme image pokes fun at the speech impediment by using captions under the images that are phonetically written like one with a lisp or such.

6. Ridiculously Photogenic Guy—this is another advice image meme only with an exceptionally handsome guy giving the advice.

5. Somebody that I Used to Know—yeah, this meme is from that Gotye song.

4. Kony 2012—this was an online social campaign meme.

3. Call Me Maybe—this is another song that the meme helped make popular.

2. Grumpy Cat—this is a photo meme that gained popularity through its posting on a meme website.

1. Gangnam Style—with hundreds of millions of views, this video meme of the song and corresponding dance wins the #1 spot for 2012 memes.

Memes are everywhere. With a simple internet search, one finds them on Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, and even websites like Know Your Meme, Failblog, and others. These add a sense of hilarity, are thought-provoking, and even create connections. So, for all who participated in communicating memes in 2012, keep it up for 2013. Who knows, maybe your meme will be #1 next year. Until then, though, thanks for the meme-ories!

Image Credit: kentoh / Shutterstock

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Rayshell E. Clapper is an Associate Professor of English at a rural college in Oklahoma where she teaches Creative Writing, Literature, and Composition classes. She has presented her original fiction and non-fiction at several conferences and events including: Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, Howlers and Yawpers Creativity Symposium, Southwest/Texas Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association Regional Conference, and Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference. Her publications include Cybersoleil Journal, Sugar Mule Literary Magazine, Red Dirt Anthology, Originals, and Oklahoma English Journal. Beyond her written works, she successfully created a writer's group in rural Oklahoma to support burgeoning writers. The written word is her passion, and all she experiences inspires that passion. She hopes to help inspire others through her words.

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