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Attack of the Meme

Oh, the Internet meme. How we love them, until, you know, they’re absolutely everywhere and lose their cleverness. But don’t worry. The next big meme is already out there!

How did memes get started? I searched the Internet and I’ve come up with: the Dancing Baby. You may recall the crude, 3D baby dancing the cha cha. The baby graphic spread through email and websites, which is a pretty good example of how people lived in the dark ages of the Internet: BYT (Before YouTube.) The baby went viral, even making an appearance on the show Ally McBeal.

I remember another early meme that became a big deal while I was still in elementary school. The Hamster Dance is a testament to the ridiculous. It features hamsters and rabbits dancing to a sped up song. That’s all. It was everywhere.

Memes have evolved. While early memes spread by duplication, contemporary memes spread by imitation. “[Stuff] Girls Say” (“Stuff” is substituting a four-letter word here) began as a single video and then exploded as others took the idea and applied it to Indian parents, New Yorkers, and finally “Stuff” No One Says.  YouTube was drenched with these memes, and just when you couldn’t stand it … they were on Facebook.

“What People Think I Do/What I Actually Do” were plastered over news feeds. Some were pretty hilarious. I found a University of Texas meme, which led me to a UT meme Facebook page. Turns out a lot of colleges have meme sites now. Have I stumbled upon the next big thing? We’ll see.

So, are memes a trend or here for the long haul? I’m inclined to argue for the latter. Memes allow for creativity and mutate so quickly into something new. Specific memes are trendy; the meme genre is probably here to stay.

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