What’s In A Meme?

Simple, humorous graphics are popular among Gen Y.

Anyone poking around Facebook or Twitter in the past six months has likely been bombarded with memes. There’s the picture of the stylish baby Godfatherwith bossy quotes. There are the countless pictures of cute cats and their thoughts on humans. And there are memes from someecards.com,old-timey graphics imposed with deadpan comments that parody traditional Hallmark greeting cards.

One of the biggest trends in the social networking world right now is the explosion of Internet memes (pronounced MEEM). The once-little-known and hipster-favored trend somehow recently burst into mainstream social media.

Technically, memes are any idea that spreads virally, whether it’s a buzzword, phrase, or video. But the recent craze centers on photos and graphics laden with catchy phrases. Many times a single photo or graphic becomes associated with a commonly accepted meaning and the quotes used on that image are simply a variety of witty sayings that reflect that meaning.

For example, there’s the screenshot of Keanu Reeves that people are taking as an image of absurd paranoia called Conspiracy Keanu. And there’s the BusinessCat, a picture of a cat in a tie who’s genre is something an office boss would do or request, but with a feline twist, as knowyourmeme.com describes.

The credit union world is populated with witty and wise individuals. Use that wit to get the word out about promotions or products. If you already have an employee whose job is to manage social media, navigating the Internet meme world should be a breeze. Some credit-union themed memes have already surfaced, so add yours to the mix.

I’m a fan of memes myself, but I cannot explain why memes are so catchy. People my age enjoy memes so much that students across the country even created fan pages on Facebook for memes related to specific universities. The thing about memes, though, is that although most are silly and pointless such as the baby Godfather others can be used to your advantage.

If you have a meme worth sharing, the potential market is endless, and credit unions must have memes worth sharing.

I will end with one note of caution, however. There are websites dedicated to the definitions of these for a reason Gen Y is rather protective of its Internet memes. So, proceed with caution. Make sure you know your meme. Nothing is worse than a non-philosophical Philosoraptor. So, make sure your memes indeed have true wit.

May 29, 2014

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