Memes are those pictures of Harambe, SpongeBob and anything else that can be paired with text to elicit random spurts of laughter while scrolling through any given Facebook news feed.
While tracing back the history, the first internet meme is hard to identify. However, The Daily Dot, an online newspaper, posted what the most popular memes of 2017 are so far.
“I think memes are hilarious,” said Danae Sorensen, a junior studying exercise physiology.
According to USA Today, ten incoming freshman at Harvard had their acceptance voided because of the racist and sexist memes they posted in the Harvard Class of 2021 Facebook group.
“The online group was originally meant to share memes on popular culture, and started off as ‘lighthearted’ but then a few members began getting inappropriate,” according to NBC News.
Many people think what the students did were wrong, but some think the students were doing what all millenials do — sharing, liking and retweeting posts they find funny, according to Dallas Morning News.
“Few things in this world feel quite as good as sharing a solid meme in a group chat and watching the rapid-fire reactions roll in,” said Danya Issawi, Dallas Morning News content producer.
Some BYU-Idaho students seem to agree with Issawi, including Jordan Norman, a junior studying biology.
“Memes are hilarious,” Norman said. “I read them daily.”
Johnathon Peterson, a junior majoring in marriage and family studies said he recognizes memes’ value.
“I think most memes are pretty funny, and I use them almost every day,” Peterson said. “I believe that we are able to talk through memes which is another way of communication.”
Memes can be shared through various mediums such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites. Because of this, memes have become a way to keep connected with distant friends and family.
I think most memes are pretty funny, and I use them almost every day. I believe that we are able to talk through memes which is another way of communication.Johnathon Peterson
“I use (memes) to relay my feelings or to communicate,” said Shelby Ellsworth, a senior studying elementary education. “I have a friend who lives in Utah, and we tag each other on Instagram or Facebook, and we keep our relationship close because of memes.”
Ellsworth said her love for memes motivated her to buy “What Do You Meme?” a card game similar to Apples to Apples or Cards Against Humanity, but focused on popular memes.
“I think that I’m able to portray my feelings, but in a funny way,” said Ellsworth. “There’s memes about when guys don’t text you back fast enough and, instead of being the crazy person, you send a funny meme, and they get the point.”
Memes can vary from being funny to somewhat rude.
“The thing about internet memes is that they take on whatever meaning the people wielding them prefer,” said Brian Feldman from The New York Times. “They are not controlled by any one entity. Memes can be used for hateful purposes and often are, but they are not inherently hateful.”
Jefferson Sanders, a sophomore studying biochemistry, said he believes there are corners in the internet where people are cruel and that memes can be used to prank others through cyberbullying. However, he believes memes are positive overall.
Sanders said he has never been bullied through memes, but believes his luck stems from who communicates with him through memes.
Sanders said he believes with technology, and how fad-oriented millennials are, it is almost impossible to know for certain if memes will be around for a long time.
“I hope they stay around,” Sanders said, “With how many people use memes, I think they are here to stay.”
I hope they stay around. With how many people use memes, I think they are here to stay.Jefferson Sanders