Sarah Colombo

Q: What is a meme?

A: I’ll start this one off by explaining how to say “meme.” Meme rhymes with seem.

Believe it or not, this term, which is associated with jokes on the Internet, has a very scientific origin.

The word meme, derived from the Greek word “mimema,” was first used by Richard Dawkins to describe, according to “an element of a culture or system of behavior that may be considered to be passed from one individual to another by nongenetic means, especially imitation.”

Think of the word “mimeograph” or “mime,” which come from the same root: copying something and passing it on.

To keep it simple: a meme is something that becomes popular on the Internet and is passed around frequently.

A meme is said to “go viral” once it reaches a certain level or popularity and use.

The most common type of meme is an image with words on it that makes a joke about current popular culture or politics.

If you use social media, you have probably seen these. The words are often written in large white font above and below an image.

Other types of memes are videos and stories.

Once a meme reaches a certain level of popularity, it is often adapted by other people to reflect jokes based on current events or even inside jokes among friends.

Some examples of popular memes include: Leonardo DiCaprio toasting, the Most Interesting Man in the World (the guy from the Dos Equis commercials), and Grumpy Cat (a picture of a grumpy-looking cat saying something negative).

Remember that your local branch of the Livingston Parish Library is here to answer all the technology questions you were too afraid to ask. Call your local branch to set up a one-on-one technology help session today!

Sarah Colombo is the Branch Manager of the Main Branch of the Livingston Parish Library. She can be reached at or 225-686-4169.

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