Memes, history and arrival of the first meme to today

The first question that we must ask ourselves before continuing is the following: first of all, what are “memes”? If we stick to Wikipedia, a meme is a recognizable cultural element. A choice, a concept, a habit, information, a phenomenon, an attitude, etc. Replicated and transmitted by imitation of the behavior of an individual by other individuals.

The Oxford English Dictionary – dictionary of reference for the English language. Defines the meme as “an element of a culture (taken here in the sense of civilization). Which can be regarded as transmitted by non-genetic means, in particular by imitation”.

On the Internet, the idea is – more or less – the same with a few more details. The meme is post gazette there is viral, sometimes immoral, has many formats – video, image, music, line, etc. And most of the time causes a smile. The meme has developed so much that it is now impossible to talk about Web Culture without mentioning Memes.

Birth of the meme.

Even if it is almost impossible to put with certainty a date on the birth of the first meme. In the history of the Web. We can venture to say that the phenomenon began in 1998. Thanks to a Japanese video entitled ” Zero Wing”.

It gave birth to the phenomenon that you are no doubt. All your bases belong to us, which spread slowly but surely. Internet being an accessory was still dispensable during those years. Where moreover the social networks did not exist. The propagation of a meme did not take place at the same speed.

The beginnings of the meme.

It is here that it began to take its splendor form, and that it became a tool of sharing, of creation.

How did it become democratized?

4chan being at base a less frequented part of the Web did not play such a large role in the democratization of the meme. The Internet had to wait for Reddit, Tumblr, and other networks to imitate and/or counterfeit the original memes by adding their two cents for the ball to get rolling.

According to the elders of 4chan – or Oldfags – the meme was tainted at this precise moment. A small diagram that can be found on the Internet and which clearly shows that 4chan claims to be the source of all things at this level.

But credit for putting memes in our daily life goes to none other than 9gag. Indeed being linked to Facebook helped 9gag – unlike for 4chan and others – it was easy for it to reach more people thanks to the virality of Facebook “like”. Booed, blamed, and attacked by 4chan, this site has allowed ordinary people to get acquainted with all this culture which for years resided in the limbo of the Internet.

A ranking of the most famous memes.

It is hard to rank memes on the basis of their fame but we are going to try nonetheless. Here is a non-exhaustive list of the most famous memes from the last ten years. The undisputed master is of course the LOLcats, which has been very successful since 2005.

Next will be Rick Astley, recognized for the famous ” Rick Roll ” from 4chan, taken up by YouTube for his April Fools in 2008. We can add to this list the famous Numa Numa. Afterward, it oscillates between different memes: Jizz in my pants, My dick in a box, This is Sparta, It’s over9000, Shoop Da Whoopor the Double Rainbow.

A little less known but present on the web, you will find Chocolate Rain, You are a Pirate. Ah and if you didn’t know, I highly recommend the ASDFMovie 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 series. These six videos are excellent and offbeat, and it would be a shame to miss them.

The future of the meme?

Its openness to the world means that it can – eventually – fall into good hands and renew itself, even if until today the trend remains rather reversed. Despite these few oozing failures, good surprises have arrived – among other new good memes – thanks to the overflowing imagination of some creative spirit.

In fact, the art of creating a meme has become a meme itself. Yes, memes come out of pop culture but someone has to present them to us in their more embellished form, using their graphic designing skills and in the graphic designing community, perhaps the most famous meme is graphic design is my passion. It might seem obscure to us but it holds great value to that community.

In the end, it is sufficient to say, as long as the internet is alive, memes will be part of our daily lives and in one way or another, we can thank the internet gods for that.