Our man Darwin originally coined the term “meme,” a shortened version of the Ancient Greek “mimeme,” which means to imitate. But no -- and this may surprise you -- he wasn't talking about the wonderful internet memes that grace our lives today. Technically, today's definition of the word meme is, “a cultural item that is transmitted by repetition in a manner analogous to the biological transmission of genes.”
The meme has now taken on a life of its own and it's generally accepted that when someone says “meme,” they're talking about the kind found on the interwebz. Unless they're a scientist or something, probably.
The internet has swept the term up with open arms and transformed it into something wonderful. The whole “cultural item transmitted by repetition” thing makes it pretty clear why the word has been used to describe viral internet sensations, although we're not really sure on the “analogous biological” thing. Ahem. Moving swiftly on...
No word of a lie, we had this guy come for an interview, and he pronounced it “Mimi.” Like your good old Auntie Mimi. Here's a tip: if you're applying for a job in social media, don't do that. It's not “mem,” either. We're not sure where that one came from, but apparently people try it on for size occasionally. Mimi we can understand, but mem? It makes no sense.
So just how do you pronounce it, we hear you cry. Well, like this: meem.
Rhymes with dream, scheme, scream, European sea bream and Neapolitan ice cream. And also Joaquim. (So now you know how to pronounce that, too.) (Sort of.) (It's “wah-keem.”)
Some Corkin' Memes
If you're still not sure exactly what we mean when we talk about memes, to give you an idea, here are a few crackers circulating the web at the moment:
MIND. BLOWN. We're surprised we didn't notice this sooner because, hot damn, Indiana Jones was one of our first ever crushes. Right after Sonic the Hedgehog and Zack Morris from Saved by the Bell.
Anything with Nick Cage is a winner, really. Throw in a little Iron Man action and... well, we're pretty sure he'd look just as good in a hoodie as Robert Downey Jr.
No, wait. We take that back. No-one looks as good in a hoodie as Robert Downey Jr. AND HE'S 48. HOW?
So we loved My Little Pony as a kid. And now we love it even harder. It's like... it's just... it's My Little Pony on acid. And we're fine with that. And all the memes that come along with it.
So memes, eh? Love 'em or hate 'em? (If you're a hater, let us know which ones and why in the comments.)