Say what meme is a hilarious new party game that lets you combine pictures with the hysterical sayings you see on Facebook, Twitter and Reddit.
Memes are cultural inside jokes that collect emotions, ideas and actions in a unique photo format. They're ideal for sharing on social media because they elicit better reactions than simple pictures or videos. They also allow brands to humanize their personality and showcase complex concepts like company culture. But, like all content, it's important to know your audience before using a meme. If the humor isn't right, it could backfire and cause offence.
In the late 1960s, British evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins coined the term "meme" to describe a unit of cultural transmission, similar to genes. He chose the word deliberately, pointing out that it starts with a Greek root, like "mime" (imitation) and ends with a monosyllable that sounds a bit like "gene."
While images are essential to many memes, they often enter the mainstream in linguistic form. This can be through punning, morphological inventiveness, reformulating or repeating patterns and figures of speech.
As the Internet's most popular form of communication, memes have spawned an entire subculture that is self-replicating and constantly evolving. This asynchronous, massively-multi-person conversation provides an outlet for the chaotic creativity of the Internet community, while creating social cohesion through shared laughter and ridicule. The emergence of these linguistic memes also provide a model for social evolution and change, as we observe the same patterns that occur in biological mutation.