TWIFT | Funny | The history behind memes

The history behind memes

Did you even noticed how memes took over the internet. Starting from some strange corners of the world web, they are the ultimate online language now. They are now defining how we experience pop culture, they are being used in advertising and now they even defining political moments.


But before becoming so influential memes went a long way. To understand better we have to dive back in 1973, when Richard Dawkins wrote “The selfish gene”. Mostly it’s about genetics, but in one of the last chapters he comes up with a new word: memes. And it means a unit of cultural inheritance, anything that is copied, anything that is imitated, anything that spreads around like a virus. Sounds quite like a meme to me.

book cover

 Still many years had to fly until finally in the 00s 4chan launched. There took place one of the first meme wars. Funny thing is that the “ugly style” of memes has its origin from 4chan. To start a conversation there, you had to post a picture on the imageboard, but the site had very limited server space, therefore it had to constantly delete pictures, so that there would be space for the new ones. For instance in 2011 the life cycle of one picture would be 9 minutes. That’s why people didn’t spend much time on “tidying up” the image, they had to be quick so that their response would be there on point. Sadly many memes from those days had a kinda violent background, but people who spread them further the internet didn’t actually know the true meaning behind the meme. 

It’s a really hard job to track one meme’s history. There is a whole site dedicated to such things. Because there are many cases where the intentions behind how they were created might not alway be what you think. So the guys from know your meme are basically the meme encyclopedia since 2008. And it’s great that such guys exist, because in the meme era, your face doesn’t belong to you anymore. Like take these people as an example. 

Nowadays, memes have already become an essential way of communication, as a result of that there is a business to be made. Yup, your dreams have already come true. You can get paid REALLY well for making memes. Of course they have to be supreme. If you know what I mean. The Brand Fire is a perfect example. A team of meme-makers turned out to be advertising consultants.  As one of the team-members says, it was a point in life where he had to either do memes or just sit and do nothing. He made his decision well.

Basically, he just makes memes for media companies or dating apps and sells it. No wonder. In the last decade it’s become standard for brands to focus on meme culture and sell things.The more people relate to a meme, the more juicy the results are. 

Knowing all of this you can meme away with grace, because this is only the beginning. Imagine, there will be children for whom memes will be historical shit. And of course it’s never too late to become a memologist. 

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