It's over 9000!!This particular meme was born back in October, 2006. Essentially, this means that Internet users have been regurgitating the exact same joke for nearly SIX years. SIX GODDAMN YEARS. That's over half a decade!
Why I hate memesIt's not that I don't find memes funny. It's just that memes never seem to run their course and gracefully die out. Instead, they hang around and overstay their welcome, much like a visiting relative or a silent-but-deadly fart on a crowded school bus. Whenever I come across a newly-born meme, I feel conflicted. On one hand, I like the fact that it's new and fresh and that it has provided me with some entertainment. However, on the other hand, I feel troubled because I know for a fact that it's going to be regurgitated and beaten into the ground for the next couple of years. You know that feeling you get when somebody tells an old joke that you heard years ago? Well, that's the exact same feeling I get when I see an old meme being paraded around as if it's new and shiny.
It's not just the repetitiveness of it all that irks me. My ever-growing hatred for Internet memes is also fueled by the fact that some people prefer to communicate with them. For example: On popular social news websites such as Reddit, you'll often come across users who persist on using advice animal memes to present their arguments. It's as if regular conversation has become too boring for them and they feel as if the inclusion of "Scumbag Steve" and "Good Guy Greg" will brighten things up and make everything more exciting.
Why do people hate memes?The closer you are to the birthplace of an Internet meme, the more likely you are to end up despising it. It all starts out fine and dandy. Somebody on 4chan submits something that is unique, strange or funny and it quickly catches on. Within a day or so, it has become some sort of inside joke. People are rehashing it, derivatives are being submitted and everyone is delighted.
However, after a week or so of seeing a constant stream of rehashes and spin-offs, the people who originally found the meme funny are now beginning to feel jaded by its presence. In their mind, the joke has worn thin and it's time to let it die. Unfortunately for them, little Jimmy has decided to visit 4chan for the first time in a few days and he thinks that this "new" meme of theirs is absolutely hilarious. In fact, he feels as if his buddies over on TypicalForumWebsite.com will also appreciate it! And he's right. They love it! Well... most of them do.
User A, B and C can't get enough of this new meme. User D, on the other hand, can't stand the sight of it! You see, User D is also a 4chan user and he's been seeing the exact same meme for the past week or so. He feels tired of it and is frustrated because of how it has effectively taken over his favorite forum board. To make things worse, all of his complaints are falling on deaf ears because everyone is far too busy playing with their new toy to care about what some damn party pooper has to say! Some of them are creating derivatives of their own. Some of them are having fun by injecting the meme into random conversations about unrelated topics. Simply put: User D is not a happy camper.
After a few weeks, the users of this particular forum board have also grown tired of the meme. Essentially, they've tired themselves out by repeating the same joke with slightly different punchlines. They want to move on and let it rest. Unfortunately for them, the meme doesn't want to rest. Instead, it wants to spread out like wildfire and leak onto larger websites.
Sooner or later, people begin to fulfill this wish by sharing the meme on larger websites such as Reddit and Tumblr, much to the dismay of everyone that has already grown tired of it. This is a critical part of the meme's lifespan. At this point, it can either fizzle out or go viral. If the meme has any sort of mainstream appeal, it will grow. If not, it'll remain in obscurity. If it has the potential for mainstream appeal, it'll be molded and reshaped into something that "everyone" will like. If you think about it, sites like Reddit and Tumblr tend to act as a buffer zone between the birthplace of these memes and the rest of the Internet. If the meme has mass appeal, these websites will wrap it up in plastic and aid its spread (all the while mocking those who accept their little package).
Before you know it, the meme is being covered by bloggers and tech news websites. It's also beginning to seep onto Youtube and Facebook. Youtube channels are using the meme in their videos and Facebook fan pages are being setup in order to worship it. Twitter accounts dedicated to the meme are born and they amass a large amount of followers. Those followers retweet the meme ad nauseam, spreading it even further. The spread of the meme across Facebook is aided by websites such as 9gag, which are littered with "share buttons". Reddit and Tumblr refuse to let go of the meme and continue on churning out derivatives. At this stage, companies and entrepreneurs try to monetize it by offering merchandise and Youtube channels try to inflate their views/revenue by using it in their video thumbnails and channel backgrounds.
The meme has now become apart of mainstream Internet culture. It might have taken months or even years, but in the end, it got there, and there was nothing that anyone could do to stop it. Whenever a person became tired of the meme, he or she was replaced by three or four more people who were willing to carry the torch and help it spread. Throughout the months and years, those who had witnessed the meme in its early stages had to watch on in horror as this "joke" was repeated time and time again, with growing intensity.