Ann Arbor Area Business Monthly
Small Business and the Internet
Meme me me
By Mike Gould
I me me mine…
George Harrison I Me Mine, Beatles’ Let it Be 1970
(Headers below also lines from the song)
Writing here at the end of summer, I’m avoiding getting into the fall working season. Instead, I have decided to get silly and go back to memes.
I covered this back in 2007 (URL below), but as with all things internet, a few changes have come down the pike, mostly having to do with the ease at which these can be created. The sites I mention below mostly use HTML 5 to create web-based imagery, which means you can get in the game quickly and easily.
Everyone's weaving it
Recap time, from my previous article:
A meme is sort of an atom in the biochemical molecule of modern culture - what Wikipedia describes as:... a theoretical unit of cultural information, the building block of cultural evolution or diffusion that propagates from one mind to another analogously to the way in which a gene propagates from one organism to another as a unit of genetic information and of biological evolution.
Or so things were in 2007; these days, memes generally describe a goofy picture with a smart-ass caption. Like this one:
(The above purloined from imgflip.com, URL below. It’s OK; memes are meant to be copied and messed with.)
So the idea is you come up with a great idea, meme-ify it, post it to your Facebook page or wherever, and let the hits pile up.
OK, I just wasted spent an hour on imgflip.com visiting various pages full of memes. Some are hilarious, most are dumb, an appalling number are full of right-wing bile. Just like reality.
I decided to experiment and create my own, showing me prepping some carpentry for an art project (Lasing Nang Talung, look it up…):
Pretty easy, and hilarious, assuming you know who Bob Vila is. (Look him up). The imgflip.com site makes it easy to post the meme, or you can just copy and paste it into whatever folder you like. I am not bothering to post this, other than in the context for this article, as it just isn’t all that hilarious other than to me. Alas, would that others show the same restraint…
Back in the day, you had to know Photoshop or some other image editing software to do this; now you go to the Meme generator, and a few mouse clicks later, you have your masterpiece. And that is where all those goofy/nitwit/infuriating jokes you see littering Facebook come from.
“All very cute”, I hear you say, “but how does this help me, Ms./Mr. Small BusinessPerson?” “Ah”, I reply, “come up with the right meme and you can rule the world.” Well, at least make the world more aware of you, and isn’t that what we all ask for from the internet? Think free advertising. Viral. Free. All you need is imagination.
Remember all those cool Bank of Ann Arbor ads on billboards around town? Of course you do – they are meme-worthy brain worms successfully designed to dig into your noggin and stay there. So the next time you need a bank, you think: “Oh yeah, Non-local banks think the Arb makes sandwiches” and off you go to open an account.
Same deal with the internet meme, only the reach is world-wide. Imagine one of the bank’s billboards on everyone’s FBook page. Attention Bank of Ann Arbor: stick a kitteh in there and you’re golden:
Coming on strong all the time
To demonstrate just how easy this can be, how about these:
The image quality isn’t all that great, but good enough to go viral at the drop of a click. And, hey, FREE!
OK, OK, I cheated a bit in prepping the above, using Photoshop to clean things up a bit. But if you are into this, take a photo of your boss, or whoever: pose them in front of a blank wall and leave lots of space around them to insert text. Or take a pic of your product and make up a funny caption for it. Or a shot of customers flocking to your big sale. The possibilities are endless.
Or peruse the various libraries on the sites, adding your message to existing pix, as I did with the cheeseburger cat pic above.
For more information about all things meme, check out the Know Your Meme site, URL below. Learn the origins of the I can Has Cheezburger kitteh meme, and others.
No-one's frightened of playing it
So jump in to the sites below and start playing around. It’s fun and you just might stumble into this year’s big and viral memetic hit!
Previous meme article:
Know Your Meme:
Mike Gould enjoys memes. He was a mouse wrangler for the U of M for 20 years, runs the MondoDyne Macintosh Training/Photography mega-mall, is a laser artist, directs the Illuminatus Lasers, and welcomes comments addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org.