Memes – New Culture of Joking

Due to the growing popularity of social networks and different Internet communities a new kind of jokes, called memes has approached. Memes are also known as media viruses and present an idea, image or any other object of immaterial world which is transferred verbally, non-verbally or via Internet.

The term comes from a Greek word which can be translated as “semblance”. The name reflects the nature of this humorous phenomenon – it can replicate itself in numerous copies. The concept of memes was developed in 1976 by a British scientist Richard Dawkins. The principle of memes’ action is quite simple – somebody posts a picture with funny saying, the other users post the same picture with other phrases of their own and the meme’s popularity begins to grow.

Some of the memes gain really international popularity, like, for instance, Disaster Girl. The original photo shows a girl Zoe Roth who looks cunning and pleased at the same time while on the background the house is burning. It seems that she hints on her involvement in the disaster. This picture received the name “Firestarter” and spread in the Internet. Zoe appeared everywhere – she became a witness of dinosaurs’ doom, Lincoln’s assassination, different earthquakes and hurricanes thanks to the art of memes.

Another popular meme presents a phrase which is widely used by Internet users and sounds like “This is Spartaaaa!!!”, where the number of vocals and exclamatory signs can vary. The phrase came from the movie “300” based on the pseudo historical comics by Frank Miller and originally belonged to Tsar Leonid who said it after throwing the Persian ambassador in a bottomless well. This meme has even inspired the creation of parody on “300” which is called “This is Sparta”, of course.

Trollface is probably the most wide spread meme in the Internet. It looks like black-and-white image of a face with a wide gloating grin, however, if you have visited any social network at least once in your life you have most likely seem this face. It is supposed that the same expression has a troll after he was fed. This meme caused a creation of comic series called “Problem officer?” where the main character escapes from difficult situations by making Trollface, or as it is called in this series, a Coolface.

The popularity of memes show that the culture of joking is changing – nowadays a picture with some popular phrase is enough to invoke laughter.


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