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Memes: Revolution, History, FAQ's And More

If you’ve used the internet for more than a few days, you’ve probably seen a meme. They’ve become an integral part of modern online life. But, where did they get their start? How have they evolved? And where did the word “meme” come from, anyway?

Where Did the Term "Meme" Originate?

The term meme (pronounced "Meem," not me-me) first appeared in Richard Dawkins' 1976 book, The Selfish Gene. It was dubbed a "Mimeme" by Dawkins, a word derived from Greek that means "that which is imitated." Due to its similarity to the word "gene," the term was later abbreviated to "meme."

Dawkins coined the term while attempting to determine whether there was a measurable unit that described how ideas spread and propagated through generations. To put it simply, a meme is what a gene is to a physical trait. And, just as genes and physical traits evolve through natural selection, Dawkins believed that anything capable of evolving, such as memes and ideas, did so as well.

This is where the modern meaning of the word "meme" comes from—the idea of ideas replicating, selecting, and evolving in the world's largest proving ground for ideas, the internet.

What Are the Origins of the First Internet Memes?

The first viral internet meme can be traced back to a dancing baby that spread across the internet before making an appearance on an episode of Ally McBeal.

Michael Girard, a graphic designer, created software in 1996 that demonstrated how movement could be programmed and projected using computers. The final design was a model of a baby performing various Cha-Cha-Cha. Girard's employer then distributed the demo to developers to demonstrate the capabilities of their software. One of the demos ended up in the inbox of a LucasArts employee, who turned it into a GIF and shared it (mostly via forums and email, but also on the burgeoning web), causing it to go viral.


Godwin's Law is an internet adage that is derived from one of the earliest bits of Usenet wisdoms, which posits that "if you mention Adolf Hitler or Nazis within a discussion thread, you've automatically ended whatever discussion you were taking part in."

What is the dank meme?

Dank meme refers to viral internet content that, due to overuse or passing trends, has lost its value or currency. It can also refer to exceptionally unique or odd memes.

The Components of a Meme and Your Target Audience

A meme can contain any number of elements, such as an image, text, video, photo, hashtags, and GIFs. Sharing a photo with a funny thought bubble, on the other hand, does not constitute a meme. A meme is not a type of media in and of itself. Instead, it is the act of sharing that causes it to become a meme. Memes are as follows:

1. Others can easily imitate or adapt your work if it is replicable.

2. Rapidly disseminated across multiple channels.

3. It is relevant to popular culture and current events.

4. Relevant to your target audience and long-lasting.

Is it possible to make money off of memes?

You certainly can!

Isn't it true that most of us can't go a day without seeing at least one meme? They've infiltrated internet culture!

We create memes on topics ranging from working from home to the benefits of being an introvert.

Some memes derived from movies, music videos, or television shows have become as well-known as the media from which they were derived.

If you're unfamiliar, a meme is an image that contains a piece of text that is shared between people on the internet.

Memes are meant to make you laugh, though some have a more serious subject matter.

Memes, it's safe to say, aren't going away. You can even make a profit from them. Yes, you can make money from memes!

1. Make a meme channel on YouTube

2. Sell your memes on Fiverr

3. Start your own meme shop on Etsy

4. Start a meme page on Instagram

How do meme accounts make money?

Meme accounts on sites like YouTube and Instagram make money through:

  • Ads

  • Promoted content for brands

  • Sponsored content

  • Merch

Are memes protected by copyrighted?

This is a difficult question. It can be argued that because a meme creator does more than simply upload someone else's photo and instead overlays text on the photo or alters it in some way, the original work is transformed and may qualify under the Fair Use Doctrine. Fair Use, which is a component of the Copyright Act, is a doctrine law in the United States that allows for the limited use of copyrighted material without first obtaining permission from the copyright holder.

Rather than going into too much detail here, I'd like to direct you to this article about copyright for meme creators.


There are so many ways to make money online and making memes has to be one of the most fun ways to do so!

Earning an income from memes isn’t a fast way to make money though because most of the methods for doing so require you to build up a following, sales, or traffic in general, so do keep that in mind. If you want a fun way to make money though, creating memes is such a good choice. And, what’s great about this money-making method is that there are options to suit everyone.

In any case, give these ways to make money with memes a shot, and if you have any other ideas, please share them in the comments section below.