September 27, 2023

Mini Debate #2: Definitions

Name: Aaron McInelly
Date: 20 Nov 2020

Meme as defined by Merriam-Webster;(meme)

1: an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture
2: an amusing or interesting item (such as a captioned picture or video) or genre of items that is spread widely online especially through social media

“The meme appeared in Richard Dawkins’ first book, “The Selfish Gene” (1976), and was an attempt to understand why some behaviors, from an evolutionary perspective, seemed to make no sense but, somehow or other, were found to be very common in human societies.” (Jordan, 2014)

1. How do these definitions differ? The first is a textbook definition of the word meme, which describes it based on more of a techno generation. The second is the origin of the word or term “meme”, which was coined by Dawkins and seeks to identify human understanding. Why we conceptualize some things, and how those things affect our behaviors. In a generation influenced largely on social media as the American people currently are, Memes have become a popular tool used to disseminate mass information in a more humorous way. According to the internet; the first ever meme could possibly be found here, ​Is this 1921 cartoon the first recorded meme?​
Which shows the history more so of the human thought process.

2. Which definition do you more strongly agree with? I agree more with Richard Dawkins understanding of the word meme, more that the dictionary definition even though technically they are both the same. The dictionary version expands more on the use of social media in the expansion of the meme phenomenon. It is important to understand that there are more people not using the internet, then there are people using the internet. So where video and pictures are not easily acceptable the overall definition of the word meme, which is more of an “idea” is more reasonable. Not everyone has access to the internet, and oftentimes in other countries even though they have the internet, there is usually a restriction on the internet. So to spread an idea reaches a larger audience when that idea isn’t attached to something that could be censored like an image or video. Diversity comes mostly from people diversifying their perception, but we should take other cultures and National beliefs into consideration when we are working with a global market. Like the internet!

3. Can memes be credible sources? This is a very interesting question, because what is credible? The official term “meme”; could be an idea, similar to when President Trump tweeted out ​#OBAMAGATE​. This is a meme, and seems to have spread around social media. Is The President of the United States a credible source? This is subjective because of the context of the tweet, similar to the idea of “Climate change”. When the evidence is contradictory it makes you wonder if the sources we think are credible are in fact credible, science is often disproven. So to say that science proves anything could in itself be considered a logical fallacy. Since science seeks to understand and expand. So I think memes can be both credible sources of information depending on how you view the information.


Merriam-Webster(Meme)In ​ dictionary​. Retrieved November 20, 2020, from
Jordan, M. A. (2014, February 4). What’s In A Meme? Retrieved November 21, 2020, from