The Rise Of The Meme : The Web’s Most Inventive Way To Poke Fun

I’m growing increasingly fond of the internet meme. Once a tool for the graphic design student tryhard blogger people, (you know the sort), to poke fun out of mainstream culture, memes have recently seemed to break out to the masses and are no longer exclusive.

My first encounter of them was on LA blog Hipster Runoff, a satirical take on the world of hipster related culture, and the artists that seem to milk the “we’re so underground” sentiment.

Whilst Hipster Runoff is just harmless fun, some meme pages have been becoming increasingly competitive.

Why? Because of those pesky students again!

Back in October it’s reported that the first University Meme Facebook page was created by the Florida International University. It’s no surprise that Facebook as well as America are responsible for this phenomenon.

Soon university pages such as Westminster Memes, have been springing up all across the UK, Scotland and Wales, all celebrating the infuriating parts of university life in Britain. Social networking sites have fuelled the trend, which involves anyone creating a meme that resonates with the rest of their university peers.

But what actually is a meme? According to thefreedictionary.com a meme is, “A unit of cultural information, such as a cultural practice or idea, that is transmitted verbally or by repeated action from one mind to another”. I would have just presumed it’s a silly picture with a caption.

For many of these newly formed Facebook pages, memes are a pretty simple concept. It’s just about poking some lighthearted fun at the unvoiced annoyances that we all share about our educational institutions. For others though, offense is starting to be caused.

Memes like the one above, which is supposed to mock the intelligence of those who attend universities with a less than prestigious reputation, are causing online tensions between groups of London university students.

This is all a bit year 7 now, isn’t it.

A meme is just a picture, a piece of casual controversy that can occasionally make us laugh or baffle us if we’re not in on the ‘in-jokes’. It seems that they are here to stay, many of them spreading into other areas of life that infuriate us all, for example London Tube Memes, my personal favourite.

Here’s one meme that resonates with me more than any other meme I have encountered before.

Ahhh, I love memes.

Jack Rooke

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