The history Of (Internet) Memes (and more useless knowledge)

Oh memes. How dull would the internet be without you? You came into our lives like a wrecking ball, taking away our hula hoops and MTV, and leaving a trail of dancing babies and 7 second videos. But we don’t mind. We love you! But how can you truly love something until you understand it? Here is our guide to memes, their history, and concept.

What Is A Meme?

The term meme originated from the famous author and scientist Richard Dawkins in 1976. Memes was used as a term for media or information that changes, or evolves, through popular culture. While internet memes are only a part of this idea, memes has come to basically mean popular things on the internet. Any popular web idea or media can be a meme. However, seem the definition of a meme is a meme itself, changing its own meaning through time and perspective. Now when people say “meme” they usually are talking about a video or image usually displaying humor that is going viral through social media. Sometimes current online fads are considered memes, such as the ice bucket challenge or rainbow profile pictures.

Okay So When Did Memes Start?

Before social media, there was only human contact through actual voice phone calls and in person conversation. In these dark days, we luckily still had the internet. I believe I am one of the few people alive today who still remember the dark ages of life before internet, so allow me to school you on such events. Since we could not “share” or “like” media on the interwebs unless we showed someone in real life, internet fads (later to be called memes) were only calculated in popularity by what us old school designers called “hits”. the actual websites themselves would hold data of how many views their internet media had received. This ancient technology allowed us to tell what were some popular memes in early history to this day! Many lol’ed while others rolled their eyes to this silly online characters. Remember that singing rat bug thing? God I hated that thing. Until the more standard memes of today with that “IMPACT” font and same boring pictures/concepts over and over again, memes were random ass media. Examples of this are videos, websites, and even ringtones.

Anyways those dark ages were called the 90’s and here are some memes from then. oh yea, need new headline first…

Memes Of The 90’s

The nineties gave us the beginning of pop culture online. The internet was growing, and emails were circulating. Although memes wouldn’t be established for years later, the 90’s gave us out first glimpse of what was to come.

dancing baby meme – 1996
One of the first internet memes, or viral internet sensation in history, the dancing baby was a show of digital effects and the low res video possibilities of gifs. Dancing Baby GIF is truly groundbreaking, truly historical, and truly creepy in the world of memes.

The Hampster Song – 1997
Not the most annoying, but definitely up there, is the hampster song video. Like I said, dark ages. It did not take much to entertain us back then.

All Your Base – 1998
All Your Base meme was the first of its kind. Like many internet memes today, it was spread as a mistake, or blooper, and made fun of. It trended in different forms, evolving, changing, like many memes do currently.

Memes Of The 2000’s

early 2000’s brought us more internet culture, and web activity. Quickly more people were online, creating profiles, and sharing media. By the end of the 00’s, memes are established.
peanut butter jelly time – before 2004?

I Can Has Cheezburger -2007
Probably one of the first well known memes to be known as an actual meme. This meme was also near the beginning stages of many meme sites.

Grumpy Cat – 2012
Grumpy Cat was such a popular meme that it became a household name. Grumpy Cat even has books, and merchandise that can be found online. There has even been rumors of a Grumpy Cat movie.

Memes of 2018
See our list of popular memes for the year 2018
Including moth memes, Birdbox, and more.

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