March 28, 2012
By Joel Hulsey | Ranger Reporter
The internet is home to many bizarre things, from Shake Weights to Rick Astley, “The Game” to “Don’t Taze Me, Bro!”
As the popularity of Internet-exclusive oddity and hilarity climbs, the lives of Internet users are controlled by running jokes that rarely are understood by the average person.
These running jokes are called memes.
While some meme coinsurers debate what constitutes a “real meme,” it comes down to one broad definition: in short, an Internet meme is a gathering of an idea or concept by a group of people that is quickly spread through the Internet.
Memes carry obscure beginnings.
Though sites such as The Daily Meme, KnowYourMeme and QuickMeme strive to trace each meme’s origin, most sites agree that memes began around 2006 and became an Internet phenomenon by 2008.
Traditional memes known as “rage faces” came from Rage Comics, a four-panel Web comic using purposefully poor animation that began in 2008 on 4chan.
“Classic memes” that followed shortly after the arrival of Rage Comics include favorites such as “Oh crap,” “rage face,” “derp” and “derpina.”
Each rage face has sub-faces, each with a slightly different meaning and use.
This popular style spread to Reddit in 2009, and a new subreddit, /r/f7u12, was created in its honor.
Perhaps the most popular rage face, “Trollface,” has become the subject of many 9gag and Facebook posts and multiple Twitter and Tumblr accounts. Other famous rage faces include “Me Gusta,” “‘Not Bad’ Obama face,” “True Story” and “Dumb B—-.”
Memes are not restricted to poorly drawn cartoons, however, with
“True story,” “Are you serious,” “Watch out, we’ve got a badass over here,” “you don’t say,” “Awww yea’” and “If you know what I mean,” all based on celebrities.
Not even civilians are exempt from becoming memes. “Good Guy Greg,” “Scumbag Steve,” “College Freshman” and “Musically oblivious eighth grader” all are pictures that ended up on the Internet.
These images, along with “Courage Wolf,” “Socially Awkward Penguin” and many others, make an entirely different spectrum of memes, known as Advice Animals.
Advice Animals trace their roots back to 2006.
The macro-images carry the use of a background image and white text.
Each “animal” provides advice on different life moments, from the absurd to the socially unacceptable.
There also are memes that exist outside these classifications, including “Philosoraptor’, “Joseph Ducreux” and “Internet Husband.” They highlight specific niches in Internet culture.
To fully understand memes, one needs to understand that Internet-time and real-time are two completely different things.
While something innovative and hilarious could hit the Internet tomorrow, five days later, that same image might be overused and over-posted.
Many groups feel that memes will begin to lose their edge if put in the wrong hands.
The Internet is the information highway for the modern world. Because of that evolution, only the best of the best survive.
With the fast-paced speed the Internet is constantly in, will memes be able to stay forever, or will the Internet see the end of memes all together?
For the time being, memes are here and dominate most, if not all, of Internet and real-life culture.