"We are a collective geezer." Uffish, to Katya
Question #89829 posted on 06/22/2017 1:13 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

In relation to the recent podcast: meme thoughts?

-AS

A:

Dear AS,

For reference, it's this podcast

-AS

P.S. If you listened to the podcast, can you give this answer a thumbs up? We're working on improving content and whatnot, but it's harder with no feedback. Thanks!

A:
Dear Auto Surf,

Ok, I'm very excited about memes but I feel like I have a completely blank meme canvas to paint on right now and the problem is ALL my thoughts are meme thoughts.

So in the interest of everyone's sanity I think I'll just explain the categories I picked and offer some of my own thoughts.
 
These are the sections I messaged Auto, and I didn't realize she'd just take them and use them or I would have thought about them more. But I stand by them anyway!
 
1. The origin of memes

Honestly on this one I was mostly just interested to hear what other people had to say. I have no idea myself and I think that there's no way to come up with a definitive origin for memes unless you come up with a definition for memes that's too specific anyway. I think it was probably about 2000 when image macros that are universally understood as memes became a thing.

Along this line, I started looking at some Google Trends for some specific memes, and one of the most interesting things that I found was that memes only started to become common at all in google searches in 2011. So, I guess we really didn't start using the term "meme" very commonly until about 2011. It was interesting as well to look at the timeline for some other specific memes, like lolcat, or doge.

8. What makes something a meme?

I'm putting my eighth question up here cause it kinda was the first thing is the podcast anyway! In my (maybe) unpopular opinion, I am pretty much including any kind of image, short video, tweet, or joke as a meme. Mostly because I always think of memes not necessarily by their content, but mostly how they're spread. Like I referring mostly to the sharing of funny images on the internet. I'm ok with memes being a pretty general category. Which I think kind of blurs into the next category I made.

2. The culture of memes

Basically here I was thinking about how sharing images, sharing jokes around on the internet has become such a vital part of our culture. Social media and the internet in general is flooded with memes, but it wasn't really that way before. I feel like the way and the place that memes have been shared has changed over time. They seem to be much more mainstream right now, which explains why some people are so concerned about sharing and making memes that are "fresh" and "dank". Also, I think there different cultures of meme creation and sharing in different places, like on reddit, or on meme pages on Facebook.

3. Memes as art

This one I felt like was pretty self explanatory, I basically wanted to hear other writers' views on the value of memes, and whether they could be considered art. I would think that i n a lot of ways, they can be considered art. There's a lot of creativity and the creation of some clever memes can be fairly nuanced. 

4. The aspects of a good meme
 
In the podcast they talked some about memes being "dank", or about being fresh and different. I think that's one good think, it also helps for memes to refer to recent events, or some previous thing that the reader (viewer? meme beholder?) can relate to. It's also good when memes are relatable, but at this point I think I'm just trying to describe good humor.

5. The evolution of memes

With this I was thinking that originally memes tended to be image macros, and tended to have a pretty specific format. They also tended to be a little bit more basic in their humor (see: lolcats). But I think that in general memes have become more "sophisticated" as they've become more popular. Over time I think they've often been a little bit more mature as far as the humor goes, and a little more mature as far as topics go. But I was only thinking of the tip of the iceberg on this one which is why I also suggested the next topic.

6. Meme timescale?

I ain't touching this cause I'm about leave for Poland, but I think this would be interesting. I was thinking about trying to talk about some of the different eras of memes, like the time when memes were basically image macros, or when certain memes reigned supreme. Google Trends was giving me some interesting results, but I really wish I had the time to put something together.

7. The impact of memes (on culture, politics, etc)

I think that memes definitely have an impact on culture, and for sure on people's perception of things, humor has a great way of making people change their opinions. The humor of memes mixed with the repetition of their themes makes for something really impactful I think.

9. Favorite memes
 
Ok, so these aren't maybe my favorite memes, but some of my recent favorites? Also, I think these help to show what I consider to be memes.
 
 
Well, those are some of my meme thoughts. For more memes, email me at sherpa.dave@theboard.byu.edu. I have many.
 
Keep it real,
Sherpa Dave
 
A:

Dear me,

One thing I forgot to say in the podcast: You know that quote about you know you're in love when the songs make sense? I think it's the same for memes; You know you're [an IB student]/[depressed]/[a redneck] when the memes make sense. 

Take care,

-Auto Surf

PS- An episode of "The Broken Brain" talked about certain wisdoms (ex: "It is what it is") being taken out of context and used as memes in the sense that they're duplicated in pop culture/pop psychology, and how this kind of ruins their effectiveness. It was great and you should listen to it again.