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Thursday, January 8, 2009

15 KB of Fame

On the internet, it does not take too long for something to evolve into a meme.

What is an example of a meme? If you clicked that last link, you just found one of the most popular ones that crawl the internet.

But beyond merely a catchphrase, memes can be useful tools to launching/boosting popularity.

The internet is often a place for culture to be born, overused, then die a slow, awkward death. Places such as 4-chan, Digg and Reddit spawn many of these memes, (though any place that allows comments is subject to this phenomenon), and they grow until they become part of everyday internet-slang, until eventually turning into accepted "actual" culture (say, with the induction of "w00t" into the Merriam-Webster dictionary). I would elaborate further, but in the interest of keeping this post SFW (the opposite of NSFW, use that UrbanDictionary link I gave you!), I won't plunge into the depths of what internet "Trolls" post.


What turns something into a "meme"? It mainly stems from the idea that people online can respond to anything (any question/post/other comment) by simply quoting something from somewhere else, (be it popular culture, or another comment, etc.) as a sort of "in-joke." Examples of this would be the ???-Profit comment that is used to describe almost any process, or the completely nonsensical (and fictional) Ghost Slide.


Background information aside, the point is that the spread of information over the internet is rapid, and what is "kitsch" and strange can often gain a lot of popularity. That video link earlier of Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up" is what is commonly known as "Rickrolling", and that meme has given the once one-hit wonder a second life of sorts, with NBC even airing a "Live" Rickroll during the Macy's Day Parade.

Too lazy to click the link?

While not all internet popularity is desired, there is no denying that being an online celebrity, or having something from your show turned into a meme, can launch/relaunch a career, (even if it is among only a strange and unfocused target). Many people have taken to using the internet as a self-promotion tool, which I believe will be a growing trend (though it should be pointed out that while the internet has the ability to boost popularity, it's anonymity makes it sometimes difficult to create such popularity).

Anyways, to sum up - internet = good for publicity. Fast, effective, though somewhat uncontrollable. Maybe that's the point. Or maybe this whole post was merely a Nice Boat.



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