How to make your own memes
Memes mutate as they make the rounds of social media. Individuals may change a photo, a catchphrase before passing a meme on to their friends.
Fri, Sep 07, 2012 at 08:03 AM
The Democratic National Convention has ended, but Bill Clinton jokes are back after his address on night two of the event. Maybe you've seen one of the Clinton photos with a humorous headline on your Facebook page. Most of those photo jokes are memes, the Internet's twist on Mad Libs.
Seems as if the former president will always be remembered, at least partially, for his sexual exploits — "Inappropriate Bill Clinton" is once again trending on KnowYourMemes.com. If you want to get in on the action, we present a simple guide to making your own memes. But first, you need to know the basics of a meme.
Memes can start with a photo, a video or simply a catchphrase that grabs the attention of some witty individual. Regardless of where it starts, a finished meme has both text and a visual component, usually a photo. And it's funny — a meme is a cultural reference that takes hold of the collective Internet conscious and can spread like wildfire.
While many memes tend to be off-color, some, like the ever-popular LOLcats — photos of cats with funny sayings — are usually appropriate for all ages. Memes can focus on a national figure, a celebrity, or a line from a popular TV show or movie. Or they could be based on any ordinary person, like "ridiculously photogenic guy," which began as a photo posted to Flickr of runners from Cooper River Bridge Run in Charleston, S.C.
Once it was reposted to social news site Reddit, the originating site for most memes, it was quickly voted up by Reddit members to the coveted front page. At that point, Redditors began adding their own captions and Photoshopped the man's face onto other photos — the meme took off.
Memes mutate as they make the rounds of social media. Individuals may change a photo, a catchphrase or use their own one-liner before passing a meme onto their friends. For instance, "Inappropriate Bill Clinton" began with a photo posted last April on Reddit showing an enthusiastic Clinton springing into a press briefing with an exasperated-looking President Barack Obama at the podium. One of the first captioned photos for the famous philanderer read, "The best kind of jobs are under the table."
You can start a meme using your own photo and a caption using an app like PicFrame, which allows you to easily add text to images. You can also add to an existing meme pool by using one of the many meme generators available. For example, on quickmeme.com, you can search for a particular person, choose a captioned photo from the results and then select "Add your own caption."
Once you've created your meme, you can share it with several social media sites, including Reddit, Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter, or copy the link to share via email. Meme-generating apps for mobile devices are also available.
And if you're not quite ready to make your own version of a meme, you can browse thousands of funny photos by downloading a meme reader app to your smartphone, such as Socially Awkward Penguin and Annoying Facebook Girl.
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