The right photo + the right words = viral appeal, copycats and more.
By Meaghan Flanigan
What’s the first word that comes to mind when you see a meme?
Hilarious? Insightful? Rude? Accurate? Dumb?
They’re all that – and they’re everywhere, from Twitter and Instagram to Facebook and Pinterest. How did a thing as simple as a photo and caption that makes a joke or offers an insight become some popular?
Richard Dawkins, in his 1976 book The Selfish Gene, first coined the word meme. It described how ideas spread through culture. It once took days, weeks, or years for ideas to disseminate; now they hit the Internet, and spread like wildfire.