The Evolution of the Internet Memes: From Derp to Global Phenomenon

Mon, Sep 25, 2023

The Evolution of the Internet Memes: From Derp to Global Phenomenon

A term we've all come to know, whether we are avid social media users, casual browsers, or just the recipient of forwarded messages from a friend. It's almost impossible to go a day online without coming across at least one meme. We truly live in exciting times right now.

But how did this all begin? Let's have a quick dive into the fascinating history of internet memes.

The Origin of the Word 'Meme'

Before discussing memes, it's essential to understand the term's origins.

British evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins first coined the word 'meme' in his 1976 book, "The Selfish Gene". Dawkins used the term to describe an idea, behavior, style, or culture that spreads within a community. According to him, memes function much like genes and viruses, passing information from one individual to another and replicating themselves. If that is not fascinating, I don't know what you want.

The Birth of the Internet Meme

The idea of spreading culture was not new, but the internet provided a fertile ground for memes to evolve at unprecedented rates. In the early days of the internet – think BBS (Bulletin Board Systems) and Usenet groups – users shared ASCII art, in-jokes, and other viral content. These early memes had a smaller reach due to the limited audience and slower means of broadcasting.

Rise of Image and Memetic Formats

With the rise of more visually oriented platforms like 4chan, Reddit, and later 9GAG, memes began to take on more standardized formats.

Think of classics like "Bad Luck Brian," and "Success Kid." These templates made it easy for anyone to create a meme.

Success Kid meme


The Role of Social Media in meme publishing

The explosion of social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Vine played an important role in the global spread of memes.

These platforms allowed for rapid sharing, remixing, and repurposing of content. Suddenly, a meme could be born in one corner of the world and become a global sensation in another part of the world within a few hours.

Memes as a Tool for Expression

Memes have become more than just jokes. They serve as a form of expression, commentary, and even resistance.

Political memes, for example, have become a staple in modern discourse, providing a platform for satirical commentary on current events. From the playful "Distracted Boyfriend" to the "This Is Fine" dog, memes have taken on layers of meaning and nuance.

Memes as Art

Now, as we delve into the captivating world of memes as art. In the grand gallery of internet culture, memes stand as modern masterpieces, each image and caption telling a unique story.

Think of memes as the modern-day equivalent of classic paintings, only with a humorous twist. They capture the essence of relatable human experiences, much like Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa, who, in meme form, "Why so serious?"

Why so serious, Mona Lisa meme


Moreover, consider dank memes as the Salvador Dalí works of the meme realm. They challenge our perceptions, bending reality, and prompting us to question the world around us, all while evoking laughter.

Commercialization and Mainstream Adoption

As memes grew in popularity, companies and celebrities began to recognize their potential for marketing and brand-building. This has led to an era of "branded memes," where businesses and influencers try to create or leverage viral content to promote their products or image.

If you want to check out an awesome company creating figurines based on memes, look no further than Memeshapes.

The Future of Memes

Hold onto your hats, folks! In this world of chaos, the future of memes is gonna be a rollercoaster of emotions. You better believe it – memes are like chameleons, always changing, always evolving.

They will make you laugh harder than a hyena with a tickle fetish.

Memes will be like cultural detectives, reflecting the vibe of the moment. It's like they've got their finger on the pulse of society, but instead of a heartbeat, it's a giggle fit.

In Conclusion

The journey of the internet meme from its modest roots to its current status as a cultural powerhouse is a testament to the internet's transformative power.

So, brace yourselves, meme lovers, 'cause the future is gonna be meme-tastic!


In the meantime, keep dancing through the meme-filled corridors of the internet, because you never know when the next viral sensation will appear, and we'll be here to celebrate it with you.