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What Exactly Is A Meme?

Recently, “memes” have gone viral. What is a meme you ask? A meme, short for “mimeme,” which means “something imitated”, is defined as “an idea, behavior or style that spreads from person to person within a culture.” However, more specifically “a meme acts as a unit for carrying cultural ideas, symbols or practices, which can be transmitted from one mind to another through writing, speech, gestures, rituals or other imitable phenomena.” Believe it or not a lot of us have seen memes before and don’t even realize it. A less textbook definition of a meme would be a funny picture with words or quotes on it.

Memes are documenting our society as it is right now without us even knowing it. Those in the future could look back at these memes and understand a great deal about our culture by viewing them. What we believe is the norm is actually quite extraordinary when one thinks deeply about it. They are more than a comical way of telling the truth. The comedy in them comes from the reality in them. However, another aspect of them is one that is hard to put in words. They are doing something that has not been done before. It is almost as if they are documenting common thoughts that most people thought they only had. I’m not sure what will come after memes but they have certainly started something great. Something that is bigger than themselves.

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