Memes, schemes and their overarching themes

Memes bring positivity all around the world

Cade Skuse, Co-Editor-in-Chief/FHS Accountant

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Memes: We all know them. We all love them. They are constantly evolving in many ways, such as sharing new messages, coming up with new formats and spreading positivity. Memes are an integral part of society and their existence is overall a benefit.

The word “meme” was first coined by Richard Dawkins in his book “The Selfish Gene,” which was published in 1976. He described a meme as a parallel to biological genes, in the sense that they carry information, are replicated and are transmitted from one person to another. Memes also have the ability to evolve, undergo the process of natural selection and mutate at random, just like genes do.

Dawkins brands internet memes as a different type of meme. Since they are altered by individuals, they are not randomly mutating. Hence, they are fundamentally different, even though they share a lot of similarities with the original concept of memes.

Memes have become a part of society and have impacted it in huge ways. Northwestern University in Illinois has even started offering a class that explores how memes and other digital formats such as GIFs have shaped society today.

Also, memes have helped spread awareness about very serious issues in a light-hearted way. One example of this is through the recent #teamtrees movement, which aims to raise $20 million to plant 20 million trees by the end of 2019. Many memes were spread to raise awareness to the cause and as of Nov. 18, $15.6 million has been raised to plant trees in order to combat global warming.

Memes also help people relate to others. People share memes because they are interested in a subject and want to share it with others who hold the same values as them.

“I look at memes because it helps me think about a topic. For example, I look at Cross Country memes because it gets me through the pain of Cross Country,” freshman Leannah Messenger said.

The relatability aspect of memes is the largest aspect of why they thrive. The subjects resonate with people and give them a sense of belonging that humans require. They help us bond with other people that are interested in the same subjects.

Memes aren’t just an English phenomenon, but rather a worldwide phenomenon. In data collected by SwiftKey, a virtual keyboard app, it found that the word “meme” was one of the most commonly used English words in other languages. It ranked high in languages such as French, Spanish, Portuguese and Romanian.

Memes allow people to properly express their creativity. Memes can contain anything from a story to a quip to just a funny caption for a picture. Memes let people use a variety of formats and templates to express their ideas and stories to make others laugh and bring them joy.

Memes have made a large impact on society and have been largely beneficial. Memes are constantly changing and evolving and new formats are constantly being created for people to spread their ideas. They are just images meant to spread jokes and laughter around the world and nothing more.

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