The term ‘meme’ has been a part of our culture ever since 1976, when Richard Dawkins coined in his book “The Selfish Gene”, but they have been part of our culture ever since its inception. Coming from the Greek word ‘mimeme’, a meme is simply something that catches on, an imitated thing. And boy, oh boy, is this one imitated a lot. Read on to find out why the “Be like Bill” meme really caught on.
- The meme was created by a Moldavian programmer living in Milan, Italy – Eugeniu Croitoru
- He decided to create the meme after receiving overwhelming success with a similar one
- Eugeniu doesn’t think of himself as Bill, saying that Bill is much better than him
- The meme mostly blew up on the internet over the past two weeks
- Despite this fact, the original meme was posted in November
Memes are really just things that catch on, regardless if on the internet or otherwise.
Trends are very good examples of memes, as are earworms. Pretty much anything that is imitated by other people or that keeps popping up uninvited in your head is a meme.
Originally used in ancient Greece, and then brought back by Richard Dawkins to be used in various scientific fields, as well as in sociology, philosophy, and other social sciences, memes have pretty much changed their original meaning.
Despite their old meaning still being accurate, most people refer to memes only when talking about often repeated online content; this, in an ironic way, has also become a meme.
But we’re not here to talk about memes in general, but to talk about the most recent one – the ‘be like Bill’ meme that has taken over everyone’s Facebook news feeds and other social media accounts.
The reason why it caught on is actually very simple – it gives people a false sense of superiority.
What the ‘be like Bill’ meme generator actually does is to compliment you in a way that is also easily shareable on social media.
So what happens is you get a compliment which you are free, and even urged to share on social media, without any of the associated social stigma.
If you were to go out on the street and repeatedly tell your friends that an internet website that has no idea who you are complimented you, you would probably get a confused look, or even one of exasperation.
But since the medium is social media, you get a compliment, satisfying your need for validation, as well as likes, satisfying your need for acceptance. You’re getting two birds with one stone, if you will.