Over the past few years internet memes have been growing in popularity among social media websites. Some have found huge success, while others quickly faded into internet obscurity. A recent study decided to look into what turns a meme into a success or a failure with the hope of predicting the next popular meme.
The study was performed by Michele Coscia, a Harvard fellow. He analyzed a wealth of memes registered on the Quickmeme website. By charting the popularity of the various memes over time, He was able to create a set of scientific algorithms to discover some of the elements that contribute to the overall success of a meme.
Coscia realized one factor early in her study: memes are not independent from each other. According to the study, “the evolution of popularity of a meme is not dependent only on the meme itself, but it is in?uenced by the other memes. The in?uence may take place in two different ways: by means of competition and by means of collaboration.” This led the Coscia to focus the study on the connections between different memes. Specifically it focused on memes that complemented each other and memes that competed against each other.
This leaves many individuals wondering, how do we know which memes compete and which ones complement each other? According to a chart used in the study, the memes “College Freshman,” “Jacka** Boyfriend,” “Tech Impaired Duck,” “All the Things” and “I Got This” are dependent on one another. While “Hipster Dog,” “Scumbag Reddit,” Lazy Bachelor Bear,” “Guido Jesus” and “Scumbag Parents” are all in competition. All of the memes that are dependent on each other focus on poking fun at others. On the other hand, the memes that compete against each other focus on lazy and gross individuals. Each group, competing or not, still works together. Coscia determined that memes are less likely to compete than to be dependent on one another. He determined this is most likely because you can like more than one meme at the same time, so there is not much real need for competition.
As stated above, not all memes stay popular for the same length of time. Some will stay popular for quite a while, while others are hardly a blip on the radar. Coscia looked at three different memes to prove this point. “Ridiculously Photogenic Guy” was only widely popular for a short period of time; many individuals do not even remember it. “Futurama Fry”, on the other hand, was never as popular as “Ridiculously Photogenic Guy”, but is still being used today rather than vanishing into obscurity. The last meme Coscia looked at was “Bad Luck Brian”, it was popular for quite some time, but has gradually become more obscure. Although, people still use “Bad Luck Brian” today. This means that a meme is not successful simply because it is popular. It must also appeal to a wide variety of people.
This study shows meme creators that if you are basing a meme on a current event, you should make sure that it does not have much competition. This is because as soon as the event becomes irrelevant, so will the meme. If you make a meme that you expect to last a while, try to make it a meme that will work alongside other memes that are currently on the rise. If you are successful, they will carry your meme to the top with them.
Unfortunately the study does not spend any time focusing on how the meme has worked its way around the internet. It merely focuses on memes relationships with one another. There are many different ways in which a meme can spread throughout the internet. If you would like your meme to spread quickly, it is vital to try to focus on a specific medium that will send your meme skyrocketing across the internet. For example, what websites have memes similar to yours been shared through most? Are they being shared from friend to friend or by strangers? Does posting it on a specific social media site really matter?
There are no real answers to these questions, so unfortunately there is no surefire way to get a meme that is going to be popular. Not yet, at any rate. The best way to attempt to make a popular meme is to use something that you and your friends find entertaining and see if it catches on. Try to post it on as many social networking sites as possible to get it started.
About the Author
Salman is a passionate blogger currently working with Monetise, a leading affiliate marketing network that puts affiliates at no.1