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A play on the well known "All your base are belong to us" internet meme.

The term Internet meme (play /ˈmm/ spelled:meem')[1] is used to describe a concept that spreads via the Internet.[2] The term is a reference to the concept of memes (a neologism created by Richard Dawkins for his 1976 book The Selfish Gene), although the latter concept refers to a much broader category of cultural information.


An Internet meme is an idea that is propagated through the World Wide Web. The idea may take the form of a hyperlink, video, picture, website, hashtag, or just a word or phrase, such as intentionally misspelling the word "more" as "moar" or "the" as "teh". The meme may spread from person to person via social networks, blogs, direct email, news sources, or other web-based services.

An Internet meme may stay the same or may evolve over time, by chance or through commentary, imitations, parody, or by incorporating news accounts about itself. Internet memes can evolve and spread extremely rapidly, sometimes reaching world-wide popularity within a few days. Internet memes usually are formed from some social interaction (such as rage comic or reaction faces), pop culture reference (such as Pardon the Interruption's Tony Kornheiser in WHY.jpg, Xzibit in "Yo Dawg," or situations people often find themselves in (such as "That feel when," Socially Awkward Penguin, and Futurama Fry / Not Sure If X). Sometimes these categories cross over, as with Futurama Fry, and costanza.jpg, a popular reaction face of George Costanza from Seinfeld. Many memes also come from video games (such as the "arrow to the knee"
Arrow In the Knee. Skyrim Guard Story02:57

Arrow In the Knee. Skyrim Guard Story.

Skyrim - I Took An Arrow In The Knee Bonus!!00:49

Skyrim - I Took An Arrow In The Knee Bonus!!

from The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim or "Do a barrel roll" from Starfox 64
Do A Barrel Roll (Star Fox 64 Music Video)03:09

Do A Barrel Roll (Star Fox 64 Music Video)

). For researchers it's hard to track down the birthplace of memes because of their viral nature, as well as the high chance that the meme will spread to major websites nearly instantly.

Their rapid growth and impact has caught the attention of both researchers and industry.[3] Academically, researchers model how they evolve and predict which memes will survive and spread throughout the Web. Commercially, they are used in viral marketing where they are an inexpensive form of mass advertising.

Types and uses

Public relations, advertising, and marketing professionals have embraced Internet memes as a form of viral marketing and guerrilla marketing to create marketing "buzz" for their product or service. The practice of using memes to market products or services is known as memetic marketing.[4] Internet memes are seen as cost-effective, and because they are a (sometimes self-conscious) fad, they are therefore used as a way to create an image of cleverness or trendiness.

Marketers, for example, use Internet memes to create interest in films that would otherwise not generate positive publicity among critics. The 2006 film Snakes on a Plane generated much publicity via this method.[5] Used in the context of public relations, the term would be more of an advertising buzzword than a proper Internet meme, although there is still an implication that the interest in the content is for purposes of trivia, ephemera, or frivolity rather than straightforward advertising and news.[6]


The term "meme" has been widely mispronounced (/ˈmiːmi/, sounding like "me me" or sometimes "meh meh" or even mayh-mm) throughout various markets, including online gaming communities, podcasts, radio, and television and internet video.[7] The French word même ("same"), a dynamic word having different meanings depending on usage as an adverb, pronoun, adjective, or within common expressions has also been adopted in the common mispronunciation of Dawkins' meme.[8]

See also


  1. Dawkins, Richard (1989), The Selfish Gene (2 ed.), Oxford University Press, p. 192, ISBN 0-19-286092-5,, "We need a name for the new replicator, a noun that conveys the idea of a unit of cultural transmission, or a unit of imitation. 'Mimeme' comes from a suitable Greek root, but I want a monosyllable that sounds a bit like 'gene'. I hope my classicist friends will forgive me if I abbreviate mimeme to meme. If it is any consolation, it could alternatively be thought of as being related to 'memory', or to the French word même. It should be pronounced to rhyme with 'cream'." 
  2. Schubert, Karen (2003-07-31). "Bazaar goes bizarre". USA Today. Retrieved 2007-07-05. 
  3. Kempe, David; Kleinberg, Jon; Tardos, Eva (2003). "Maximizing the spread of influence through a social network". Int. Conf. on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining. ACM Press. </noinclude>
  4. Flor, Nick (December 11, 2000). "Memetic Marketing". InformIT. Retrieved 2011-07-29. 
  5. Carr, David (May 29, 2006). "Hollywood bypassing critics and print as digital gets hotter". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-07-05. 
  7. Smolinski, Julieanne. Twelve Words You Didn't Know You Were Mispronouncing. Retrieved on 2008-08-06.
  8. Lawless, Laura K.. Même - French Adjective, Adverb, and Pronoun. Retrieved on 2011-07-15.

External links

ar:ميم إنترنت

bg:Мем (Интернет)


es:Fenómeno de Internet

fa:میم اینترنت

fr:Mème (internet)

ko:인터넷 유행

hr:Internet fenomeni

it:Fenomeno di Internet

he:תופעת אינטרנט

hu:Internetes mém

mr:इंटरनेट मीम


pt:Memes de Internet

ro:Fenomen pe internet







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