Understanding the “Internet Meme”

4 03 2009

WARNING, SOME OF THE LINKS CONTAINED WITHIN THIS ARTICLE MAY LINK TO OFFENSIVE MATERIAL. ATTEMPTS WILL BE MADE TO FORWARN OF ANY LINKS THAT MAY LEAD TO OFFENSIVE MATERIAL.

All non scholarly references will be made in-line via hyperlinks. Scholarly references will be included in a references section at the end of the case study.

Understanding the “Internet Meme”

Introduction
What is a meme? What is meant by the term meme, or what does one even look like? To those savvy with specific communities of the internet, a meme is easily recognizable, but at this juncture two understandings will have to be made. The first is of the meme as the “internet meme”, that of the “inside joke” passed on through the web (Such as Dramatica’s definition I will outline later). The second is of the meme as coined by Richard Dawkins, which I will return to later. This distinction will allow for a more understandable analysis of the two concepts later on in the study. While the internet meme is a subject that could fill a book with a thorough analysis, I will attempt to assess the concept in a manner that provides a detailed outline of some of the key issues surrounding it. Essentially, this case study will boil down to an analysis of the legitimacy of the term meme as a descriptor for the notion of the “internet meme” and find that a better framework is needed for analysis of these cultural objects as merely placing the notion of the “internet meme” into current frameworks becomes problematic.
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