An Explanation for Why We Love Memes

By Dominic DeHoratius on December 2, 2015



We see them all the time on our social media sites, and we become fans of certain ones enough to create a market for t-shirts and other items. We develop a fondness for certain meme characters and themes (grumpy cat fan here). But why has our culture and generation become so fascinated by them? I believe there are quite a few factors at play here, so lets create a list to help us answer this question.

 1. They speak to something we can relate to

This is perhaps the main driving force for why we like certain memes and dislike others. A college student will enjoy the lazy college student meme, knowing the idioms attached to said memes all too well. Or perhaps we have terrible work experiences and take solace knowing many others have that same coworker we simply cannot stand. Our experiences and backgrounds will often determine our meme of choice, but we can still appreciate other memes even if we don’t totally associate with the content.

2. We use them for different levels of communication with those we know

We send the aforementioned college memes to our university mates, and often elicits a different type of reaction (as opposed to simply communicating the words or ideas through a simple text).

3.  They often give us a new outlet for creativity, often in conjunction with our pop culture and other mainstream interests.

Memes appear as soon as a noteworthy event hits the web and/or TV, and we enjoy every moment of it. Sporting events have become a fertile ground for memes, and our social media platforms allow for us to spread these creative and entertaining memes instantaneously. There are even Facebook pages and twitter accounts dedicated to just memes.

4.  They can make us feel better, plain and simple.

As mentioned before, memes often have relevancy depending on who it is targeted to, and who we might share such a meme with. There’s no doubt that many, many, MANY people have head-bobbed and agreed with relationship memes, given that statistically, many individuals would be able to understand the message of the meme.

 5.  It’s our new form of cartoons.

I would argue that memes have taken on the mantle of our digital cartoons (political cartoons and the like) given everything that I have included thus far. You could even equate them to Sunday paper cartoons (though that might be more of a stretch). But the point is, they share many similar qualities with printed cartoons. Memes express ideas and opinions, they attempt to relate to their audience, and best of all, they are meant to be fun and entertaining all at the same time.


So the next time you post (or see) a meme, know that there’s a lot more to the picture besides a caption or some photoshop effects. Even if they don’t seem like much, there’s a lot more to a meme than meets the eye. Just ask Grumpy Cat…




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