Every day when I sort through my Facebook news feed, the majority of items happen to be these pictures that people want me to share with my entire entourage of friends. The picture meme hasn't been a new phenomenon, as ancient cave dwellers used to delight others with their comic wall drawings when they weren't running from dinosaurs. Although sharing these drawings had drawbacks, as friends usually had to chisel them out from the wall, the effect of the meme still found popularity. Eventually people evolved to share pictures on canvas, then photographs, then finally the Internet.
The goal of a meme is simple: The one with the most likes wins. It's like a contest driven by unemployed comedy writers dumped from the Disney Channel, and the prize is total Facebook domination. These Internet artists "appropriate" a picture from the internet, slap a caption on it, and send it through the ether. 10,000+ likes and shares and win the day. 100,000+ and become Facebook legend. 1,000,000+ and win a country as the grand prize--a small country, like Belize.
The anatomy of a picture Internet meme can be separated into four different categories:
The Obvious Statement
Find something that everyone agrees with and exploit it for all the share in the world. Yes, I love my mother. Share. You bet I hate cancer. Share. Football IS a great sport. Share, share, share! The brilliance is in its simplicity. Would not sharing mean I hate my grandmother? I can't do that to Nana. Share, a billion times share! I love you Nana.
The Inspirational Quote
Go to brainyquote.com, highlight the first quote you scroll to and paste that sucker to a sunset or waterfall or some crap like that. Martin Luther King, Jr., Walt Disney, e.e. cummings: all sharable. Anonymous quotes are even better because then you can make crap up and not even bother with butchering Stevie Wonder. With this fresh perspective of life, how can anyone not share this junk.
The Nostalgia Heartstring
Do you remember Simon? If so you have to share. Punky Brewster, ColecoVision, Pogs, all fair game. The older and more obscure the better. Hey, remember Teddy Ruxpin's friend Grubby? That's worth at least 20,000 shares from people who don't remember, but will click just for fear someone will find out they don't remember. Extra shares if you can denigrate these young whippersnappers who will never know the joys of rotary dials.
Just Plain Funny
These are just plain awesome.
Now, I want to be on the record that I'm not knocking these guys (or gals). I just don't know when they have time to scour the interwebs to find interesting photos and slice them together with a caption or two. They could be spending their time writing lame blogs about people who create Facebook memes. After all, bloggers are just unemployed comedy writers dumped from Nickelodeon.
30 Days of Shameless Self Promotion progress:
Jack Grubb writes an incredible blog, Losing the Internets, which is read by at least 37 people and over 2,100 Russian SPAM bots. In his spare time he helps small companies find their marketing voice. Jack currently lives deliberately in Appalachia, Kentucky with his wife, two daughters, Jack Russell and a Lego collection beyond compare.