What Was the First Meme?

Meme faces

Who controls the memes, controls the Universe

Elon Musk

The internet and social media are great places to escape reality and enter into a virtual world. It’s a place where you can be a completely different person and express yourself in various ways. This can be through the posts you write, the songs you sing, the memes you create, or the videos you make viral. A meme is an image, video, or GIF which has some text on it to describe the image in minimal words. The purpose of a meme is to make a relatable joke, which generally falls into meaning for most people who see it. The thing that makes a meme different from normal content is its ability to be made viral and to spread through social media.

The History of the Word Meme

The word meme is taken from the book “The Selfish Gene” written by Richard Dawkins in the year 1976. In the book, he used the word meme to explain a theory of something spreading from one person to the other in a unique culture. It also is derived from the ancient Greek word “mimeme” which means something that is imitated.

What was the First Meme?

Although the term meme was first described in the book by Richard Dawkins in the year 1976, the idea of a meme actually goes further back than that. There are hundreds and thousands of images and statements that could easily be taken for as a meme since they fit its definition. So, even several phrases used since ancient times could act as a meme for us. An example being, the phrase “Don’t worry, be happy” which was originated in China by the Sui Dynasty much before they migrated to Europe. This phrase then spread rapidly throughout the world and therefore, can be considered a meme. Nonetheless, what about the first internet meme? When was it created?

The First Internet Meme

There are billions of memes that can be found on the internet and social media today. They are great ways to bring smiles on your friends' faces simply by sharing a relatable meme. Memes have been on the internet since the early or mid-’90s. Although it was difficult to upload videos onto the internet at that point because of no way being present to stream videos – the memes were usually images or GIFs. In the year 1996, a meme was taking over the internet. It was the “dancing baby” meme. This meme was spread and made viral through the email chain. The meme can be described as a 3D animated baby that dances or moves along to “Hooked on a Feeling” by Blue Swedes.

Memes are great ways to spread smiles and laughs on a virtual platform. They’re great forms of interaction for when words are not enough – a meme can speak for you. Similarly, the Dancing baby meme sticks with people from the ’90s as a great memory of being alive at that time.

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