Are Internet Memes creative?

by nketas

Yes! that’s right. The title says it all. This post is about the all ubiquitous memes. (what else do you expect from me!). I have been saving this one up for last.

Example of multipanel memeSo What are memes?
A Meme is “an idea, behavior or style that spreads from person to person within a culture.”A meme acts as a unit for carrying cultural ideas, symbols or practices, which can be transmitted from one mind to another through writing, speech, gestures, rituals or other imitable phenomena. Supporters of the concept regard memes as cultural analogues to genes in that they self-replicate, mutate and respond to selective pressures.

The word meme is a shortening of mimeme “something imitated”, from μιμεῖσθαι (mimeisthai), “to imitate”, from μῖμος mimos “mime”)[4] and it was coined by the British evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins in The Selfish Gene (1976) as a concept for discussion of evolutionary principles in explaining the spread of ideas and cultural phenomena. [Source:Wikipedia]

Internet memes are no different. Internet is nothing but the mixture of cultures in a microcosm and memes the sign language of this subculture.
Ahemm! …Creativity?

Alright! I am getting to it! Mentioned earlier the language of memes is universal. Just like so many creative things are possible with writing, the same applies to memes. Memes are nothing but a type of art or sequential art. Just like comics, memes give a visual appearance of something while leaving the rest to imagination to create a emotion.

world's most interesting meme Meme’s can be anything from statement of a fact, satire, wordplay, philosophy or remediation of textual content or context. It is always interesting to see how people use memes and how they are perceived in different situations. Even interesting is the mind of an average meme “artist” and how common place things can be converted to something very funny and interesting. Doesn’t that make it creative? if you think satire is creative, then memes are. If you think funny wordplay is an act of creativity, the same applies to memes.

So what makes a meme?

Even if they are just images and text, The process of meme making is an interesting process. Based on my “expertise”, I am able to identify a few aspects of meme.

Image: Choosing an image is everything in a meme. The image and the context in which it appears or presented sets up the theme for the entire experience. The meme dictates the usage, situation, context and most importantly verbiage. The image is like the chekov’s gun in many aspects.

Yo Dawg!Verbiage: As much as an image is important, the verbiage is the quintessential part of a meme. The choice of words have to correspond to the central theme dictated by the image. The sentence structure has to resemble the original pattern and finally the content should be apt. It can represent the premises or a fact or any wordplay. The possibilites are endless. If you get it right you will almost always be complimented with “excellent adverbiage bro!” comment in the internet forums.

Context: a meme-maker has to understand the context of the meme. If not it completely spoils the experience. You need proof. go here:

Reproducibility: The ability to reproduce or repurpose a meme is very important. If a image with a sentence structure can be repurposed for multiple situations, it will have a longer shelf life and sometime considered a very versatile and creative as well.

and finally LOLability: Laugh out loud. According to me, anything that can emote a user and make him laugh or smile is a winner. One of the major factor of meme-making is the ability of the meme to generate laughter.

U mad bro? now go make a meme about me and vent your anger. See it helps anger management too. If you found this post interesting and funny, leave a few memes in the comments will ya.

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