The History Of The Meme: From The Unforgettable Internet Joke To A Global Phenomenon

The meme has become one of the most popular and enduring forms of online communication. Originally created as a simple way to share jokes, memes have grown into an impressively complex phenomenon with far-reaching implications. In this article, we will explore the history of the meme and its impact on global culture. We will discuss how memes function as tools for social activism, how they’ve shaped our perception of humor, and more. So whether you’re a longtime meme enthusiast or just getting started, read on to learn about this fascinating form of communication.

The Origin of the Meme

The meme is an enduring internet meme that has been around since the 1990s. It is a short phrase, phrase, or image with a simple punchline, often used online to convey a message or to amuse users. The first known use of the term “meme” was in an urban legend forum in 1995, where members were discussing the potential spread of the AIDS virus. The earliest known example of a viral meme is a picture of John Lennon with the words “How do you think he feels now?” superimposed, which was posted on Usenet in 1992. Memes have become increasingly popular on the internet, and are now commonly used in social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. There are thousands of different types of memes, and each one typically spreads through word-of-mouth among users. Some memes replicate themselves rapidly across various platforms while others remain relatively niche.

The History of the Meme

The history of the meme is a story of deep roots and wide-spread popularity. It all started with an internet joke that quickly took on a life of its own. From there, the meme went on to become one of the most popular and enduring forms of online expression. In this article, we explore the origins and development of the meme, from its humble beginnings to its current status as a global phenomenon.

The history of the meme can be traced back to late 1990s, when users first began uploading images macros featuring characters like Garfield and Elmer Fudd with punchlines like “What kind of animal says ‘meow’? A cat!” The earliest known use of the term “meme” dates back to 1999, when it was used in an article about 4chan, an early forum site where users shared creative content (1).

The first known example of a viral online joke is probably Tom Sawyer’s comment about Becky Thatcher in 2003 (2). This short dialogue was featured in an animated GIF that circulated on various forums and chat rooms. Over time, Tom Sawyer’s comment became well-known among internet users and spawned various variations, including ones involving other characters from popular children’s books.

By 2005, memes had already begun to spread beyond traditional internet discussion forums and into more widespread realms such as message boards and blogs (3). One particular blog post titled “Why Images Don’

The Evolution of the Meme

The evolution of the meme can be traced back to the early days of the internet. Back then, people used memes as a way to communicate and share ideas. Some of the earliest examples of memes include Chuck Norris jokes and Star Wars references. As time went on, memes began to take on a more popular and widespread nature. Today, memes are commonly used in online communities to make lighthearted conversation and to share jokes. They have even become an important part of popular culture, with some Meme stars achieving mainstream exposure.

As the meme phenomenon continues to grow, there is no doubt that it will continue to evolve in interesting and innovative ways. It is safe to say that the Meme is here to stay!

The Spread of the Meme

The history of the meme is a fascinating story that has taken on a life of its own online. From the unforgettable internet joke to a global phenomenon, the meme has enjoyed a long and successful journey. Here is a timeline of its key moments:

1665: The first known reference to memes occurs in an essay by French philosopher Denis Diderot. In it, he discusses the concept of “mimesis” and how it can be used to create humorous effects.

1991: The first web meme is born when co-founder of 4chan, Christopher Poole, posts an image called “Woah Dad!” on the site. It features a picture of two kids with exaggerated expressions that is often referenced on 4chan and other sites.

1997: The first viral internet sensation is born when 17-year-old Michael Jordan slides into home plate at the end of his high school baseball game and celebrates in ridiculous fashion. The video clip quickly goes viral and becomes an iconic moment in Jordan’s career.

1999: The term “meme” enters popular culture when Richard Dawkins uses it in his book The Selfish Gene. He defines it as “a unit of cultural transmission equivalent to a gene.”

2003: Meme creator Adam Curtis first uses the word “meme” in his documentary series The Power Of Nightmares, which explores how memes are used to spread extremist ideas throughout society.

2006: Meme creator Scott Adams publishes Dilbert comic

The Meme Phenomenon in the Global Age

The meme phenomenon has taken the world by storm, with users sharing and discussing memes on a daily basis. Memes are short, funny images or videos that often use popular culture references to make a point.

The first known example of a meme was an online joke called “Penny Arcade Guy,” which featured a picture of a bearded man in a red suit who stood beside a penny arcade machine. The image was used as the user profile picture for the website Penny Arcade.

In 2006, Richard Dawkins coined the term “meme” in his book The Selfish Gene. Dawkins defined a meme as an “unit of cultural transmission” that is passed from one person to another through imitation.

While memes may have originated on the internet, they have quickly become a global phenomenon. In early 2018, TIME magazine published an article entitled “The Meme Empire: How 8chan, Reddit, and Facebook Enriched Our Lives” which reported that memetics had become “an essential part of everyday life.”

According to the article, memetics has helped to shape our understanding of popular culture and has even played a role in politics and international relations. For example, during the 2016 US presidential election cycle, memetic campaigns on social media played a significant role in shaping public opinion.


The meme has had a long and turbulent history, but why meme  it is now one of the most popular and widespread forms of online expression. From the unforgettable Internet joke to a global phenomenon, memes have played an important role in society over the past few years. In this article, we explore some of the key reasons why memes are so popular, and how you can use them to your advantage as a marketer or content creator. So whether you are looking to make a funny Facebook post or tap into that latent creative genius within you, read on for tips on how to create successful memes


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *