The internet changed the way we all viewed content and created memes. Some even went as far as to say that the meme craze caused the 2010s digital revolution. And while some people may still disagree, it’s undeniable that memes took over our timelines and social media platforms. It wasn’t just about remembering an event or happening from years gone by – it was about creating and sharing your own experiences, whether they’re funny or not.
The Evolution Of A Meme
If you search the internet for information about memes, you’ll come across a lot of material written by evolutionary biologist Steve Huxford. His work focuses not just on the theory of evolution but also on memes and how they work. If you’re looking for a deeper dive into the theory of evolution or just want to know more about memes, read on because here’s an interesting story about the evolution of memes.
The Digital Meme
In 2006, when Steve Huxford was writing his PhD thesis about memes, nobody had ever heard of a meme. It was a relatively recent invention, created by University of Victoria researcher Richard Dawkins in his 1980 book The Selfish Gene. In it, he suggested that memes – ideas, behaviors, and ways of thinking – could spread through a population like a virus, hijacking the minds of people who came in contact with it.
That was a controversial theory and received a lot of criticism. But Huxford’s PhD work focused largely on applying genetic algorithms to the study of memes as well as other evolutionary concepts like genetic drift and gene flow. And his work was groundbreaking. For the first time, scientists were studying memes as a form of evolution and trying to understand how they worked.
How Do Memes Evolve?
Now, 11 years later, we have evolved quite a bit since then. If you follow popular science journals or stay up-to-date with the latest memes on TikTok, you’ll know that memes can evolve quite quickly. In fact, some have suggested that the internet created a whole new form of evolution. Where before memes were mostly just theoretical, now they’re something very real that we see played out daily on social media.
Steve Huxford theorizes that the internet provided more opportunities for memes to evolve and reproduce. Before the internet, memes were contained to books and scholarly journals. But now they can spread globally in an instant. They can be shared on social media, reached by people who have never come in contact with the information in the first place.
This has resulted in an entire generation growing up with little to no knowledge of the real world. They are sheltered from it and only exposed to information and influences through social media channels. The internet was initially a place for people to get news and spread awareness about important political and social issues. But now, it’s a place for everyone to share their views, whether it’s a meme about a celebrity’s outfit or a video of a puppy laughing hysterically. It’s a place where everyone’s voice is heard and where opinions are valued.
Does Everyone Agree That Memes Evolved?
Not really. While most people will agree that the internet changed the way we all view content and created a new form of meme-based evolution, not all agree that it was a good thing. Where does that leave us?
Well, for one thing, there’s the whole issue of fake news. The internet democratized news access and empowered people to report on events and news stories as they saw fit. That can be both good and bad. But one thing is for sure – the internet gave birth to a completely new form of cultural evolution.
The Rise Of Fact-Checking
You may have seen the viral trend of people fact-checking viral memes on social media. It all began with a joke that went viral. The punchline was that Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) looked like a deer caught in headlights. A hashtag was created and people began sharing memes that showed Gaetz in a variety of embarrassing situations. When the media reported on Gaetz’s office, they found that he often looked like a deer in headlights – even when cameras were not rolling. That’s the kind of humor the internet loves and it inspired a trend that continues to this day.
The Future Of Memes
Will memes continue to evolve and will we continue to see the next generation of humans defined by their relationship to memes? Time will tell. But for now, let’s take a moment to appreciate the beauty of memes and their place in history.