Memetics is a reflection of pre-existing evolutionary models according to Sorites.org. But how did memes come to take over the internet? Where do they come from? And how do they get so popular?
If every generation has a literary breakthrough, are memes a millennial masterpiece? Millennials in every culture can now recognize the most popular memes such as “one does not simply” or the “ALIENS” man from the History Channel which is shown below. In its own twisted way, this shows the beauty of the Internet. People collectively enjoying, laughing, and sharing these simple photos of sayings. Millennials have created something culturally relevant.
In effort to answer these burning questions, Circa Campus sat down with three "meme creators" Sam Brandano, Antony Watkins and John McPhee to discuss all things meme! All three are currently pursuing a MFA in Acting from The Actors Studio at Pace University in New York City.
Sam Brandano was born in Syracuse, New York, but moved to Florida in 2003 because of a con told by his parents about going to Disney world everyday. It was there where he formed a crew of dedicated wholesome dudes who enjoyed memes. The crew built a high stock in memes and went public on the meme market in 2013. Brandano then opened a meme hedge fund out in Tempe, Arizona where he attended his undergrad at Arizona State University. With the growth of meme culture, Brandano recently moved to New York to trade memes on the market. His dedication to Reddit memes and optimism towards them is very heartwarming to listen to. He gives credit to his meme mentor Jeff who is, as Sam describes a wholesome guy.
John McPhee is a repentant telemarketer going to grad school in the Big Apple in hopes of turning a new leaf on his Thursday night bender. He apparently agreed to discuss memes in front of a camera, and he loves it.
Watkins was born in England, and moved to the USA to cash in on the meme rush of 2004. He served in the Marine Corps after high school, which killed the light inside him, and turned him into a hardcore depression meme user. Now he lives in NYC, while he attends grad school. You can normally find him in dark rooms, laughing at sad pictures, and smiling to hide the pain. Watkins is a master of dark humor.
Memes have become so popular with millennials because of their sarcastic nature. Which many millennials identify with and there's so much political turmoil globally it's nice to have moments of comedic internet joy. Brandano remarks that the reason memes have become so popular with millennials is because “memes unlock something more personal it unlocks inner emotion… you feel brought together. The person who posted it obviously connects with you. You feel like you're apart of something.”
On a more serious note, businesses have started using memes as a marketing tool. Professor Dr. Christian Bauckhage from Bonn University in Bonn, Germany writes in his article, "Insights into Internet Memes", that “professionals in marketing and campaigning have embraced Internet memes as a way to build rapport with trendy communities .” Other businesses such as State Farm insurance, and I-Hop have even started using memes on their social media sites. Making them not just a form of comedy, but a relatable ad series. Memes thrive on recognition, so as longs as companies choose carefully using memes it is a smart marketing tool to attract millennial buyers.
The concept may seem a little silly to step back and analyze, but with memes only becoming more popular in our digital lives, it's important to understand them. Memes might just be millennials newest form of bonding.
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