First, we have to question: What constitutes a meme, and what is the relevance of meme culture? Undoubtedly, memes play a central role in digital culture. Even social media users who are unaware of the minutiae of the internet will have shared a meme, whether or not they know what it is, such is their ubiquity. As Morwenna Ferrier writes for The Guardian in 2019, “the original concept dates back to 1976 when the word was coined by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins in his book The Selfish Gene. He took it from the Greek root “mimeme” (“that which is imitated”), shaved it into a neat monosyllabic word to make it snappier (you know, like a meme) and used it to describe a unit of cultural transmission that shows the spread of ideas or culture.” Colloquially, a meme is just an online form of humour; quick-witted responses to news and cultural events harnessing the idioms of the internet and social media to make self-referential quips that relate to the growing feelings of chaos in our current global landscape. Easily shared, re-made and re-shared, again and again in new contexts, memes are in essence a form of satire that both react to and inform the zeitgeist.
Colloquially, a meme is just an online form of humour; quick-witted responses to news and cultural events harnessing the idioms of the internet.