If you’ve ever used social media chances are you’ve stumbled upon a hilarious meme or two. Whether it’s Grumpy Cat or Kermit the Frog, every internet user has glimpsed a viral meme. Memes (pronounced “meem” NOT “meemee”) are the modern-day newspaper comic strips. They are a great way for people to share and make social commentary on current events in a humorous and engaging way.
Memes can be anything from an image to a video to a catchphrase. A good meme typically has two components to it: it’s relevant, and it’s funny/clever. It also spreads wide and fast, like a disease, hence why it’s called “going viral.” And like a disease, a meme can also mutate so that what starts out as one picture with a particular caption can end up as a whole different concept suitable to its audience. If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to make a meme, we’ve got 5 easy steps to help you!
The word meme was first most commonly used by ethologist and author Richard Dawkins in his 1976 book called “The Selfish Gene.” In the book, Dawkins explains how cultural information is circulated. Modern-day memes are a branch of Dawkins’ original idea of memes. In the early days of the internet, memes were spread through emails and discussion forums, which meant they were much slower in reaching a bigger audience. Today, it’s a whole different story. A meme can go viral in a matter of hours. Most memes have a relatively short shelf life, but some become classics forever. Some well-known timeless memes are:
- LOLcats: Funny cat images with illiterate captions.
- RickRolling: Hyperlinks that misdirect the viewer to an 80’s video of Rick Astley singing “Never Gonna Give You Up.”
- Chuck Norris: Funny memes about how masculine the Walker, Texas Ranger star is.
- Kermit with a Teacup: Kermit the Frog serving sassy and judgemental sayings while sipping tea.
- Grumpy Cat: Adorable cat with a permanent scowl and a list of things he hates.
- More Cowbell: This Christopher Walken classic phrase from Saturday Night Live is frequently used as a meme.
- Doge: Cute Shiba Inu dog picture and captions with the use of horrendous grammar.
- Good Guy Greg: A photo of a guy smiling while smoking marijuana. Usually captioned with him doing kind and respectful acts of service.
- Drake: Popular Canadian rapper Drake has been a favored subject of memes for years now thanks to his unapologetically emotional lyrics.
Memes are a huge social media phenomenon and have become immensely popular partly due to their simplicity. Most memes are just pictures with text captions. Creating a meme is relatively easy, especially with all the different meme generator tools available online. It’s creating a good and timely meme that poses the real challenge. However, if you choose your timing and subject matter wisely, you have a very good chance at your meme going viral.
If you’ve ever wondered how to make a meme, read on to find out!
If you’re a Millennial, you probably don’t need an explanation for this, but for those of us not as hip on our modern lingo a meme is typically a funny image based on a current event, that spreads through the online sphere, and is shared by internet users on social networks and blogs. The most common form of a meme is pairing a picture with a caption, but memes can also be hashtags, GIFs or videos.
FINDING INSPIRATION FOR YOUR MEME
If you want to know how to make a meme, you first need to find some relevant inspiration. If your intent is to go viral, it’s a good idea to check out what’s currently trending in pop culture. Picking an obscure subject will typically not yield a popular meme.
If a politician or a celebrity has been involved in a major scandal or any shocking behavior, chances are people will be interested in seeing and sharing your meme about it. The combination of pop culture and comedy is always a good bet for a hit meme.
But you need more than just a good subject. You also need a catchy line to go along with it. Having a good picture won’t do much good if your text misses the mark. Most memes are a form of satire, so you need something that’s funny, outrageous or clever. Your meme also needs an audience. The most successful memes have an entire community that’s interested in the subject. For example a TV show, a musician, or a famous book character. The more of a following your subject already has, the more possibility of it going viral.
HOW TO MAKE A MEME IN 5 EASY STEPS
Want to learn how to make a meme? It’s not that difficult! Just follow these steps to create your very own first meme:
STEP 1: RESEARCH
You can’t ever become a pro at something without doing your research. And with memes, research is particularly important because meme success highly depends on current popular events and relevant timing. If you’re not up to date on the latest headlines, you might have a hard time coming up with something that will peak peoples interest. Remember, social media is a fast revolving animal. What’s relevant today, might be old news by tomorrow.
When doing your research, figure out which memes are currently viral, and why. What is it about these specific memes that captured the attention of so many people and made then share it? What do these memes have in common? You might be inspired and come up with your own brilliant idea for a meme. It’s highly important to understand current trends and use them to your advantage. You need to know your competition and what makes them so successful.
STEP 2: CHOOSE YOUR SUBJECT
For those learning how to make a meme, something to keep in mind is that for your first meme it’s a good idea to pick a subject in which you’re actually interested. If you choose something you don’t fully understand or aren’t interested in yourself, you might have a hard time creating a meme that will capture an audience and make them laugh. Remember, there are thousands of memes online if you want yours to stand out it has to be good. Cute animals, celebrities, and politicians are good starting points if you lack inspiration.
STEP 3: FIND A PHOTO, MAKE A CAPTION
If you decide to go with the most popular image-based meme, you will need to get a photo. Whether it’s a celebrity or a cute kitten, pick something that people will be able to recognize, relate to or something that will make them laugh. Keep the text of the meme short, simple and fun. Remember, most people don’t want to (and don’t have the attention capacity to) spend more than a few seconds reading a meme caption. If you write out a novel, it will have slim chances of being shared online.
STEP 4: CREATE YOUR MEME
After you have your photo and your caption ready to go, it’s time to create your meme. Once you’re ready to create your meme head on over to the Imgur Meme Generator, or any of the other multiple similar meme-making websites, where you can upload your image and then add your text. Once the meme is ready to go, you can share it through a link or save it to your computer. You can also create your meme using Photoshop or another photo editing app.
STEP 5: POST IT
A meme is nothing without online exposure. You need to share your meme on social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit in order to give it the most potential for a broad audience. Sending it to your friends through e-mail or text doesn’t hurt either. Your motto should be: the more people see it, the better!
HOW TO MAKE A MEME – THE CONCLUSION
Memes are a lot of fun, but on a deeper level, they also present a wonderful way of communicating and bonding with strangers all across the world and from across all walks of life. Like comedy, they provide entertainment and stress relief. They unite people with laughter. And the best part is that memes can be created by pretty much anyone who has access to a computer or a phone.
To generate a perfect meme you will need to have some patience as well as at least one good and socially relevant idea. You will also need to pick your timing wisely if you’re hoping to go viral with it. Social media makes it incredibly easy to create and share memes all over the world. Internet users everywhere love memes because they’re funny, easy to understand, and they click with a lot of people.
And the best part about memes is that they’re not difficult to make! So put those 5 steps to good use and go make something viral happen.