The Internet spread all over the world has been there for all to see and one of the significant outsets of it is the rise of social media, and with it, the rise of memes.

Whether we call it mi-mi, mem, meme or meem, all of us would agree they have become an indispensable part of the social life of people of all ages, something which everyone enjoys, and along with it, has become a medium through which people share their thoughts.

Google Search Interest In Memes Throughout The Decade is rising
     Picture: In this decade, the Google search of memes has risen exponentially

What are memes?

Though today, there would be a very small proportion of people who would ask this question,

Memes were defined as ‘An element of a culture or system of behaviour passed from one individual to another by imitation or other non-genetic means’ in Richard Dawkins’ book The Selfish Gene.

 The definition, as well as the understanding of the term, has changed significantly in recent years.

Why so Popular?

 A YouTube video by Vox on the same subject put forward a very intuitive point, pointing out that memes are basically an extended inside joke, where all those people who are a part of it, get the fun, all those who are not, do not!

The essential nature of human behaviour is that we want to be a part of the group. Psychologists call it the principle of “social proof,” and it affects our decision a lot more than we think it does.

Rising Stress Levels

Modern times inflect us with stress, the pressure level in adolescents have increased manifolds in the previous decade, coupled with the busy schedule that an ordinary adult goes through, memes have become something of a getaway.

Image result for Stress levels in the previous decade
  Picture: There has been a rise in negative emotions in the previous years

 A getaway from the hustle-bustle of daily life, and laugh and share jokes which are relatable to the mundane life, which interestingly, turns out to be quite funny when put in some known templates. 

From stacking them exclusively on sites like 4chan, popularizing it through sites like Reddit, memes have grown to become something synonymous with social media today.

Still, What’s the point?

This is a question which is asked very seldom.

What is the point of a meme?

Is it just for the fun part of it? Is it about the impact it has on its viewers?

It is mostly agreed that memes are something that has become an integral part of our social conduct today. Also, it is something which makes us laugh during our busy day.

But is it all which is enough to have the continuous flow of memes on the web, as there is now?

Is the prospect of “putting a smile on someone’s face” a worthy enough reason to devote several hours towards brainstorming and coming up with a piece of content that may not even be liked that much by the audience?

Well, however, ideal this may sound, everyone knows that is not the case.

No one would even create memes, were it not for the prospect of earning money and possibly also doing business out of the same.

After all, it is a lot about money nowadays, isn’t it?

Image result for Money made through memes

So, how do memes lead to people making money?

Unlike a lot of things in life, this is simpler.

The biggest reason: Instagram

In the past few years, meme accounts have been among the fastest-growing on Instagram (source: Mediakix), out of the plethora of reasons, one that stands out is that Instagram is primarily used by young users, those who fall in the category of Adults talked about earlier.

If you like memes, you can definitely check out memenagar at Instagram

 Naturally, they appeal to the masses and are very popular. Resultantly, the meme pages have a huge following, sometimes in multiples of millions, even. [we all follow these pages, don’t we?] These stimulate all those millions and earn through a variety of sources, advertisement of other similar pages, being one of them.

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Picture: More than 50% of the users of Instagram are from 18-34 years of age

What do meme pages do?

Many meme pages have grown so popular that they have themselves become a ‘brand,’ selling goodies in their own name, even. People are so crazy about these that they buy and do viral marketing of the same, leading to all the more customer base of the page, and the process continues.

Basically, memers monetize putting the smile on your face.

Not so cool, eh?

Social Media Marketing:

Of late, there has been a significant rise in how companies are concentrating on their social media marketing.

Memes have become an integral part of the same.

It is not new to see big companies using memes to reach out to its customers, for as said before, memes are something which people relate to.

All this leads to further popularizing of memes, in-fact there are pages like Mad Over Marketing, which looks for instances when Companies adopt innovative techniques to market- themselves, use of memes being one of them. These lead to more popularization of the same, and in no time, it spreads like wildfire.

In this case, memes have a double impact, they even have an impact on us, at the same time, earning from the same.

Image result for companies using memes for advertising
Picture: Use of a famous meme by Virgin for its marketing

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Why so much attention?

A large portion of this article has been about how popular memes have become, from random posts on sites such as 4chan, it has transformed to what it is now.

The reason such an extended portion of the article was devoted to is that it is something that is right in front of our eyes, and we tend not to give much attention to it.

Times are changing

This teenager was making $4,000 a month reposting memes on Instagram, this shows how much the world has changed, the times have changed.

 So, The meme culture is the testimony of this fact, the fact that how nothing is constant, and if we have to survive, we need to change and adapt too, continually.

Therefore, memes have had an impact on our lives, whether we realize this or not. And they have a good monetary reason to continue to do so.

The onus is now on us, whether we let them be just a casual pastime or something which defines what we mean by ‘social media’!