On the World Wide Web today, a popular topic is internet Memes. Many well known ones are the trollface meme, the “what I think I do” meme, and other popular memes such as “all your base are belong to us”. Memes have existed long before the internet but have used the internet to gain popularity. It has grown into a way to express ideas across cultures and memes have embedded themselves into the very fabric of the world wide web today.
One of the most popular and well-known memes is the trollface meme as described in this article(http://factspy.net/how-the-now-famous-trollface-came-to-be/ ) and is usually used to indicate “trolling” in contemporary internet culture. People who often post inflammatory, off-topic, or random messages that steer a topic off-course will many times post the trollface image which basically means “you got trolled” or “you got hijacked”. Trolls usually post the trollface in discussions they have trolled followed by a message to elicit an angry response such as “U mad Bro?”. Troll posts are often used to elicit an emotional or angry response from the original poster. Although very popular and often used by just about anyone online today, the trollface is actually a young meme having originated in 2008 from an internet user named Whynne on an MS paint comic on 4chan. The usage of the word “troll” itself dates back from the 1980s and the phrase “trolling for newbies” was popularized by the usenet group alt.folklore.urban.
The trollface has morphed into a variety of different forms and has even found its way into public media. Certain trolls have gone to the extreme to deface memorial tribute sites or make fun or horrible incidents where people have died. This has gone to the point where the U.K. Has imprisoned two people for grossly overdoing their trolling activities. Another time trolls and the trollface made it into the media was in late 2011 where an email from a certain Carlos Rameriz claimed he was Whynne and that the trollface violated his copyright on the image. In the end, this was likely a false call, or an attempt by Whynne to troll Reddit. Since the trollface has gotten so popular, there have been several sites like http://memegenerator.net/Trollface that showcase different trollfaces and even sites that generate random trollfaces for people. As of today, the trollface can be found on just about every popular internet forum or community and you will always be able to find a few trolls lurking in these places.
However, the trollface is not the only popular meme on the internet. There are several more well-known ones that are worth looking at and exploring and that we shall look at here.
Another rage comic meme is the “true story” meme which features a picture of the popular sitcom character Barney Stinson from the show “How I Met Your Mother”. The statement and the picture is usually attached as the final panel in rage comics to indicate that the story that is being told is based on a true story, even though most of the times people use it, it is used in a sarcastic way because the story is obviously made up. The origin of the current “true story” meme dates to early 2011 and spread like wildfire through social media outlets such as reddit. However, the uses of the expression goes back several years before its current online adaptation. The phrase was used to affirm claims and allegations prior to its online adaptation and was used as early as 2004 as indicated by its entry in the online urban dictionary. It was popularized in 2011 because the character Barney Stinson uses it all the time after telling a story that is completely false and fabricated.
On the flip side of rage memes, there are ones to express great pleasure or enjoyment in a non-sarcastic way. One of the most common of such memes is the “sweet jesus have mercy” meme. Its full meaning is that something is so enjoyable or funny that it hurts and thus the “have mercy”. This meme originated in 2009 from a comic made by “Strongside” on facepunch studio boards. However, the sweet Jesus face was modified from the original comic. The smile on the original comic was turned upside down and the left eye was moved to the opposite far side of the socket to make a sort of decrepit looking sigh or frown face. It also looks like the face of someone sighing from relief. This meme is sometimes confused with the “me gusta(I like in English)” meme due to a similar appearance, although the “me gusta” has eyes popping out of its sockets and a closed mouth. In the online world today, “sweet Jesus” is used to show general like or pleasure whereas “me gusta” is used to show like in something that is strange or perverted.
Outside trollface and rage comic memes, one meme that has grown enormously popular is the “what people think you do” meme. It is used to describe what a certain group of people do. There are usually six panels to the meme and each picture in the panel has something like “what my mom thinks I do” or “what my co-workers think I do”. The last two panels are always “what I think I do” and “what I actually do”. Most often it displays the disparity between the glorious profession or activities that people think they are doing versus the depressing reality of what they are stuck doing every day. This meme basically pokes fun at various professions and draws heavily on stereotypes to relay its humor. It is similar to earlier memes such as Advice Animals but instead of featuring only one panel with a single stereotype, it features six panels with what various groups think of a certain profession. This is a very young meme having been started in early February 2012 but has taken the social networking world by storm and has a free template online where you can build your own version of this meme (http://knowyourmeme.com/photos/250836 ).
Another popular meme is one that usually features a white owl (although other animals have been used) with a fake surprised look on its face saying the words “O’rly?”. This meme is generally used to mock someone after he or she has said something that is blatantly obvious. In a way it is a graphical display of the now-common phrase “thank you captain obvious.” Variation of the meme include the same white owl saying the words “YA RLY”, “NO WAI”, as well as a number of other funny expressions that sarcastically mock people who state obvious things that everyone already knows. The Origin of this meme dates back to 2001 as that is when the picture of the popular snowy owl photo that is used in the meme was taken by photographer John White. The strange expression of the owl was not photo-shopped like some think but is actually because the bird was panting in order to cool off. The expression itself came at least as early as 2003 on internet forums, particularly at “something awful forums” and quickly spread through the rest of the internet from there. It has now been used in many games and even a computer worm in 2006 to solidify itself as one of the most popular memes in internet culture.
Although many memes are centered around one picture and a few expressions, one of the most popular ones today, LOLcats, is not. The LoLcats meme is not based on any one cartoon or picture but it consists of random cats doing funny things with some funny caption that is expressed in LoLspeak. LoLspeak is a somewhat random way of speaking with a few standout points. Sentences are often start ed “oh hai” and end with “k thx bye” and features such words as “NOM NOM NOM(because that’s the sound LOLcats make when they eat food) and also substituting the letter “z” in place of the letter “s” when making things plural. This way of speaking also blatantly flies in the face of common English language grammar by using wrong verbs in such a way as “I has a mouse”. The popular meme is believed to have been spawned in 4chan imageboards and can now be found across the web on various forums since people can use LOLcats to express a variety of different things and feelings. This meme is probably the most fun one to use out of all the memes.
These are just a few of the dozens of internet memes out there today. New memes are being created all the time and some rapidly catch on in popularity. Keeping up with new memes and internet culture is tough to do but should not be a problem if you gots dem skillz!
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