Ok, so since the beginning of the internet, things have become phenomena just by the fact that they are ON the net and being passed around in the ways only the net can manage. Over the last few years, the idea, coined by Richard Dawkins, has become very commonplace. The meme, being described as an idea or element of social behaviour passed on through generations in a culture, especially by imitation (dictionary.com) describes how certain things get transmitted and adapted on the net for different reasons. Let me give you some examples:
This is Rage Guy, famous for his “ffffffffffffuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu” comics. The guy started comics wherein the dude was basically pissed all the time. It spread around and whenever bloggers got pissed, they would exclaim, “Fffffuuuuuu…!!!!”
Another internet thingy like that is the misspelling of THE. It was misspelled so much as “TEH” that it’s meaning mutated into it being the ultimate X. Like, “The band is Teh suck”. Meaning it’s the epitome of awful.
LOLCats in general, FAIL, and the Rickroll. I am pleased to say that I am familiar with most of these memes, including list/survey type memes that have circulated through personal blogs for years. I always jump on board for food or book related ones.
You can do more research at Know your meme dot com. It’s kind of like Snopes for memes. Ha ha. I’m fascinated by how these things get around and people pick them up and perpetuate them. There’s a picture of a penguin and someone called it the socially awkward penguin. Some people I follow on tumblr put a picture of a character on Bones – who IS socially awkward – and made a million different ones based on things she would say. While not interesting to anyone other than Bones fans, it’s still pretty cool how it became a sort of icon for the group of fans that follow along. I suppose it was a way for us to connect and belong, silly as that may seem. The internet is good at doing that, even though we all sit behind a screen, never seeing that person, barely knowing them but for what they favorite or like or follow. This is our generation.