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Internet Memes: What It Is, History, Example

Updated 2023-09-20 11:58:05

Internet memes have become deep-rooted in online culture, enthralling users across social media platforms and bringing people together through shared humor and relatable material. Memes have arisen as a vital form of communication in the ever-changing world of the digital age, affecting debates, reflecting popular culture, and creating a sense of collective identity. In the following article, we will look at the history of internet memes, investigate their potency and influence in many industries, and highlight famous examples that have left an endless mark on digital culture. From viral sensations to politically charged memes, we'll delve into the exciting world of online memes and their impact on modern digital communication.

What is an Internet Meme?

Internet memes are content that amuses or sarcasm throughout the internet

An online meme is, at its heart, a piece of content, frequently amusing or sarcastic, that travels quickly throughout the internet as stated by Patrick Davison. Memes are distinguished by their shareability, adaptability, and ability to reach a broad audience. They can be photographs, funny videos, GIFs, or text and are usually accompanied by captions or text overlays that offer context, humor, or irony.

Memes use cultural shorthand to express their message, relying on shared references, catchphrases, and visual aspects. They are frequently born from pop cultural moments, news events, or viral sensations. They gain popularity swiftly as people latch onto them and remix them innovatively and surprisingly. Memes are a collaborative creativity that evolves and adapts as they are shared and updated by countless internet users.

Memes are mighty because they can capture and simplify complicated ideas, emotions, and experiences into short and relevant content. Memes draw into our shared human experiences, providing a forum for satire, social commentary, and political debate. They act as a mirror to society, reflecting our joys, disappointments, and absurdities in an easily consumable and shared style.

The History of Internet Memes

The History of Internet Memes - From start to now

Early Memes and their Origins

Internet memes had evolved from traditional memes to dank memes since the early days of the internet when online communities began sharing and remixing content in new and imaginative ways. While Richard Dawkins created the term "meme" from the Greek word mimema in his book "The Selfish Gene" in 1976, it wasn't until the late 1990s and early 2000s that internet traditional memes gained significant traction and reputation.

The "Dancing Baby" popular meme was one of the first to become viral on the internet in 1996. Michael Girard's 3D animated baby dancing to a looped animation went viral, attracting people with its simple yet funny movements. The Dancing Baby highlighted the internet's ability to quickly circulate and popularize information, paving the way for the rise of meme culture.

Another early popular meme creation was "All Your Base Are Belong to Us," which came from a poorly translated sequence in the 1989 video game "Zero Wing." In the early 2000s, users began remixing and parodying the broken English word, turning it into a funny catchphrase that penetrated online culture.


All Your Base Are Belong to Us

Memes in the Digital Age

Memes began to flourish in the digital age with the rise of social platforms and the increased accessibility of internet connectivity. Websites such as 4chan and Something Awful became focused on meme production and distribution, promoting a lively and dynamic online culture.

The rise of image-based memes, such as the "I Can Have Cheezburger?" series, which included amusing text layered over cat images, signaled a fundamental shift in meme culture. These image macros quickly became a popular template for users to create and share memes, generating a lot of variations and spin-offs that swept the internet.

Memes discovered new channels for virality and reached social media like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and eventually, TikTok acquired popularity. Memes became ingrained in online communication, with users sharing, tagging, and commenting on their own meme to interact with their friends, followers, and online communities.

The Power of Memes

Memes have an extraordinary power in online communication, catching people's attention, spreading quickly, and affecting how we engage with digital content. Let's look at the various factors that contribute to memes' popularity.

Viral Influence

Viral Influence - The Power of Memes

The infectious nature of online memes is one of their distinguishing features. Memes can spread quickly via social media and online groups, reaching a large number of people in a short time. A meme can reach millions of users worldwide with only one share.

Memes' viral impact can be due to a variety of things. Memes frequently draw on shared experiences, emotions, or cultural allusions, making them accessible and appealing to a broad spectrum. When a meme resonates with people, they prefer to share it with their community, increasing its reach.

Meme virality is aided further by the network effects of social media. Users are linked to one another via networks of friends and followers, allowing memes to spread swiftly across these networks. Furthermore, the algorithmic nature of platforms such as Facebook and Instagram frequently emphasizes content that generates high engagement, resulting in even greater distribution of popular memes.


Humor - The Power of Memes

Many online memes are humorous, which makes them enjoyable and entertaining for users. Memes frequently use humor, sarcasm, or clever wordplay to elicit laughter or entertainment. Memes can break down barriers, generate good self expression, and foster a sense of connection among individuals by condensing complicated concepts or circumstances into a simple and amusing manner.

Meme shareability is also enhanced by humor. When people come upon a humorous meme, they feel obligated to share it with others to relay the joy or happiness they felt. Memes foster camaraderie and shared humor among users, fostering community and sparking discussions on the content.


Subcultures - The Power of Memes

Memes have an essential role in shaping subcultures throughout the broad online landscape. Memes serve as cultural signifiers among Internet communities formed around specific interests, fandoms, or beliefs. They are a common vocabulary, referring to shared experiences, inside jokes, or niche interests.

Memes help to shape collective identities within these subcultures by allowing people to express their affinities and sense of belonging. Memes in gaming communities, for example, frequently reference popular games, characters, or gameplay mechanics, building shared knowledge and camaraderie among gamers.

7 Crypto Memes You Should Know

7 crypto memes you should know

With countless memes growing around this digital asset class, cryptocurrency has become a hotbed for internet memes. These crypto memes summarize the distinct qualities, trends, and personalities of the cryptocurrency realm. Here are seven cryptocurrency memes you should be aware of:

1) Mooning

The "mooning" meme refers to the optimistic assumption that the price of a cryptocurrency will surge and reach the moon, signifying significant profits for investors. It is frequently portrayed by visuals of astronauts planting flags with various cryptocurrency logos on the moon. This meme represents the desire for enormous price increases as well as the thrill associated with prospective investment success.

2) To the Moon and Back

To convey intense enthusiasm for a cryptocurrency's price spike, the term "to the moon and back" is widely used in the crypto community. It highlights the assumption that a specific digital asset would see exponential development, hence making investors wealthy. This meme is frequently accompanied by rocket ship images or hilarious variants depicting the lunar mission.

3) Rekt

The "rekt" meme is used to convey financial losses in the crypto market in a comical manner. It is a misspelling of "wrecked" and is frequently accompanied by visuals or GIFs depicting persons or characters expressing sorrow or defeat. This meme illustrates the volatile nature of cryptocurrency trading and provides users with a fun approach to cope with losses.

4) Lambo

The "Lambo" meme refers to the desire to make large profits in the cryptocurrency market and buy a Lamborghini, which has become a symbol of luxury and success. This meme emphasizes the desire for financial independence as well as the possible rewards of crypto investments.

5) Bag Holder

The "bag holder" meme alludes to people who bought a cryptocurrency at a high price but were forced to cling to it as the price fell dramatically. It is frequently depicted hilariously through photos or illustrations of people carrying large bags full of devalued cryptocurrency tokens. This meme serves as a reminder of the dangers of investing in unpredictable markets.


"FOMO", "Fear of Missing Out," is a meme that expresses people's fear and exhilaration when they believe they will miss out on a profitable investment opportunity. This meme is frequently used to show people acting rashly or making fast investment decisions as a result of FOMO.

7) Satoshi's Vision

The "Satoshi's Vision" meme refers to the ongoing discussions and conflicts within the crypto community over how to interpret and implement Satoshi Nakamoto's, the pseudonymous founder of Bitcoin, original goal. This meme depicts many perspectives and divisions within the community in a comical manner, frequently incorporating photographs or illustrations of Nakamoto himself.

Internet Memes in Many Industries

Internet Memes in Many Industries

Internet memes have invaded a wide range of industries, capitalizing on their viral nature and cultural significance to leave their imprint on marketing, finance, politics, social movements, religion, and healthcare. Let's look at how memes have impacted various industries:


Memes have evolved into an effective marketing and advertising tool, allowing brands to interact with audiences in a relatable and engaging manner. Memes allow marketers to tap into pop culture, use comedy, and generate memorable content that resonates with their target demographic. Brands may boost brand awareness, improve engagement, and foster a feeling of authenticity and relatability by adding memes to their marketing campaigns.

Memes that match with the brand's beliefs, products, or target audience are frequently used in successful meme-driven marketing initiatives. These memes are intended to be shared and disseminated across social media, allowing people to interact with the business organically and become champions. Memes can also be used to generate user-generated content by encouraging customers to create and share their own brand-related memes.


Memes have emerged in the finance business, notably in the area of cryptocurrencies, and they play a crucial role in driving market patterns and investor mood. Cryptocurrency memes have the potential to influence investment decisions, build buzz around specific coins or tokens, and foster a sense of community among cryptocurrency fans. Within online crypto communities, memes can help drive discussions regarding market performance, project developments, and investment strategies.

Meme-driven trends in finance, such as "meme stocks" or "meme coins," have gotten a lot of attention and have upset traditional financial standards. These movements frequently entail users banding together in support of specific stocks or cryptocurrencies spurred by meme-driven social media campaigns. Memes have the capacity to affect stock prices, entice investors, and put major financial institutions on the defensive.


Memes have evolved into an effective instrument in political debate, serving as a forum for satire, commentary, and mobilization. Political commentary memes allow people to express themselves, criticize leaders or policies, and interact with political topics in a digestible and shareable style. Memes have the ability to reduce complex political statements into hilarious and relevant content, making them accessible to a wide audience.

During election campaigns, political candidates and supporters frequently use memes to reach out to younger people and spread their messages. Memes can quickly spread throughout social media platforms, allowing politicians to reach out to and engage with a bigger public. Political memes, on the other hand, are not limited to official campaigns; they can also be grassroots manifestations of political passion, expressing the opinions and complaints of regular folks.

Social Movements

Memes have been adopted by social movements and activists as a means of increasing awareness, rallying communities, and challenging social conventions. Memes can help transmit powerful ideas, stimulate debates, and engage a large audience in discussions about social justice, equality, and other critical societal concerns. They have the capacity to disseminate information widely, amplifying the voices of underrepresented populations and pushing social change.

Memes play an important role in encouraging information sharing, educating others, and countering misinformation within social movements. They frequently use compelling images, smart subtitles, and cultural connections to elicit emotion and foster empathy. Memes can promote solidarity and togetherness among activists, generating a feeling of collective identity and driving action.


Memes have made their way into the world of religion, providing a unique and often irreverent way for people to express their opinions, criticize religious institutions, and engage in discussions about faith. Religious memes can range from amusing adaptations of religious iconography to provocative social commentary on religious activities and ideas. They allow people to explore and challenge their own religious experiences in a lighthearted and accessible way.

Religious memes can also spark discussions about spirituality and philosophy, bridging boundaries across religious communities and engaging people who might not normally participate in religious debates. Memes about religious holidays, rituals, or sacred texts can foster cultural understanding and help people connect with their faith in a modern setting.


Memes have emerged in the healthcare business as a technique for promoting awareness, spreading health information, and tackling difficult themes. Healthcare-related memes can be used as educational tools by simplifying and entertaining medical subjects. They aid with the deciphering of complex terminology, making health information more accessible and appealing to a broader audience.

Memes can also be used to address mental health concerns, dispel stigmas, and provide a safe space for people to express themselves in a relevant and supportive atmosphere. Memes can stimulate dialogues about mental health, self-care, and seeking assistance by leveraging comedy and shared experiences.


Internet memes will surely affect our future culture and fast communication as they change and adapt. They are a monument to the power of shared experiences, creativity, and comedy in bringing people together in the digital culture. Memes have evolved into a cultural force capable of bridging divides, sparking conversations, and reflecting the ever-changing environment of our linked world. Accept the memes, share the humor, and revel in the ever-changing world of internet culture and its lively meme-filled terrain.