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What Is a Meme?
You might be surprised to know that the word meme didn’t originate online. In fact, author Richard Dawkins first used the word in his 1976 work The Selfish Gene. The book looked at evolution and used meme to describe an idea or behavior that spreads across people in a culture.
When someone says meme nowadays, they’re probably referring to an internet meme. This is the common usage we’ll discuss here and builds on Dawkins’s use of the term.
For a basic meme definition, we’ll use the following:
A piece of media, often humorous, that spreads rapidly through the internet.
With the instant communication that services like Twitter, Reddit, and similar allow us to perform online, it’s no wonder that memes spread so quickly.