A few adults in my life have asked me the question, "Emma, what is a meme?" I realized that this is a common inquiry, which is very rarely answered.
Memes are a very popular Internet sensation among teens. I'm here to give some simple insight on what they are, to help anyone who is unsure about the world of memes navigate that world with confidence.
Memes seem like very complex ideas, because they fall into many different categories. But the premise of a meme is actually very simple.
Overall, a meme is a phrase or image widespread across the Internet, and sometimes brought up in conversation, that is slightly altered pertaining to the current situation. However, don't expect a meme to stay for very long. Once a meme is popular, chances are that it will only last for a week or so.
A fresh meme has an expiration date on it that lingers close to its birth, mostly because it becomes tiring after a while of use. For example, usually nobody would hear the old meme, "I came out to have a good time and honestly I'm feeling so attacked right now" very often anymore. This phrase was said exactly as it appears here whenever someone says something unsavory to another person, usually ridiculing them or criticizing them. In response, the receiver of this backlash would express their dislike with that phrase.
Another popular meme that is still somewhat active today is an image of Kermit the frog sipping tea from a teacup, sometimes with the caption, "But that's none of my business." Unlike the previously explained meme, this one is an image, versus a language-based meme that can be used in everyday conversation.
The Kermit meme usually appears online when someone posts something that appears to be slander, sometimes directly naming the problem, and sometimes not. This is accompanied by the iconic picture of Kermit, sipping tea, as if to say, "I acknowledge that this is happening, but I'm going to pretend to keep to myself about this issue." Oftentimes, the Kermit meme appears in instances of discourse between people which occurs online.
These are only two simple memes that have existed. But there are many more out there. In the case of a new meme, however, you must be prepared to identify the fact that a new phenomenon is, in fact, a meme.
There are usually a few tell-tale signs. Ask yourself the following questions; First, have you seen and/or heard this new trend more than three times in the past hour? Second, do people seem to receive a generally positive reaction when the potential meme is brought up? And third, is this idea widespread on social media? If you answered yes to any of these questions, congratulations! You've harvested a new meme.
It's important for other generations to be informed on the younger generation's trends. Now that any uncertainty has been cleared on the subject of memes and their meaning, there is one less roadblock in communication between adults and youths.
The differences between these age groups appear to be becoming vaster. Hopefully now that memes are generally understood, both can laugh and be brought together with humor in a world where similarities between young people and the rest of the population seem to be a rarity.