Why Memes Have Become the New Language of the Internet


The internet has become something of a culture in its own right, and for people who enjoy interacting with internet communities such as Reddit and 4chan, one of the most common ways to communicate and engage with people is by posting user made memes.

Memes can feel like something of an inside joke. While designed to be funny, you often have to know about popular culture and internet culture references to understand them. When you do, they can be hilarious and a great way of making a joke within a community, but when you don’t understand a meme, it can just seem random and baffling!

Telling Stories Through Memes

One of the main meme sharing platforms is 9Gag, and on that site, a lot of the memes are made using specific templates that allow a person to express something using a well-recognized (within the community) image macro.

Examples can include the ‘confession bear’, which is just a picture of a bear that people write their confessions about all kinds of things over. Another is the ‘socially awkward penguin’. This is simply a penguin, but because everyone who uses the site recognizes the picture, they know that what will be captioned on it will be a cringe-inducing story of an embarrassing moment.

User Made Comics

Another way that people tell longer stories using memes is with a style called the ‘rage comic’. These are fairly basic in the imagery used and easy for anyone to make using sites like RageMaker.net.

Everyone in the communities where these kinds of comics are posted are familiar with the language and faces used (such as the ‘troll face’ or the ‘poker face’), and so it makes it a fun way to tell true or imaginary funny stories in a style that is anonymous and doesn’t require the storyteller to develop any real art skills.

Understanding the peculiarities of things like rage comics allows the creator and the reader to share a kind of common thread of knowledge. For instance, people who regularly read other people’s rage comics will know that the characters are always called ‘Derp’ and ‘Derpetta’ and they always use the French style ‘le’ in front of nouns instead of ‘the’, even though the comics are generally in English. These are part of the style and make the comics feel like inside jokes shared between people all over the world!

Memes And Social Media

While memes are popular on sites that exist mainly to share and create them, they also tend to get shared a lot on social media. They are sometimes even used in place of words as a reply to a post or tweet.

Using a meme can be a funny way to express yourself and more creative than simply writing a comment, and this is something many users find fun to do.

Memes are really just a way of combining words and pictures. However, because they are now so easy to make they have become a language of their own online, and one that is likely to continue evolving.

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