Biologically, meme means a unit of a culture (an idea or behavior) that is passed from one person to another through imitation of that traditional value. So, memes are the cultural counterpart of genes. While in the contemporary world, memes are mostly described as the pictures, with a humorous anecdote or remark intended to provoke laughter, which go viral on social media.
It will not be wrong if we say that the current culture of social media has given birth to memes. Generally, posting a picture on social media with a punch line which is relevant to the picture’s original context but telling a different story is a meme.
As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words, but when this picture is accompanied by a gag it takes the shape of a viral meme.
Muhammed Sarim Akhtar, a manager at a private audit firm, became internet sensation within minutes of his reaction to Asif Ali’s dropping catch right before him during Pakistan vs Australia World Cup 2019 match in England.
Exclusively talking to Dialogue Pakistan the ‘meme guy’ had said, “It was so easy. We saw the ball coming and it felt as if it will come towards us. Asif dropped it and it extremely disappointed us as David Warner was playing brilliant innings.”
A fan had said, “I think this is going to be the universal emoji for drop catches.”
Soon Sarim Akhtar’s reaction started doing rounds not just in Pakistan but in England, India and other parts of the world as well. People started relating him to their daily life disappointments and made funny meme out of his expressions. ICC Digital Insider Zainab Abbas conducted his first interview then a large number of media outlets followed suit and Dialogue Pakistan was amongst the first ones. Sarim’s meme is still in the wind.
Not only common men have been memefied, but celebrities have also fallen victim to this new trend. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader and entertainer Aamir Liaquat, Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry, TV artist Samina Peerzada and cricket commentator Ramiz Raja come into the same line.
Memes are a source of delight but it should be taken care of that nobody is hurt of it.
How are memes created?
Fahim Ahmed runs a Facebook page of rib-tickling memes. Talking to BBC Urdu, he said creating memes was not as easy as it seemed to be because you have to be mentally prepared for it and this thing has to be always on your mind.
Creator of ‘Comics by Rafay’ page on Facebook, Abdul Rafay said you could not enjoy anything to the fullest while making memes because your mind was constantly working while you were watching something to find out on what aspect you should make a meme.
Another meme maker, Sidrah said the competition was getting tougher and it was not a cake walk to bring new ideas and collect material for innovative memes.
Backlash on memes
Memes are potent enough to spread laughter on your face, but not for all.
Abdul Rafay said he faced the most adverse reaction on memes against Prime Minister Imran Khan. He said he did not like to read comments after posting a meme on Imran Khan.
Sidrah has suggested that there must be code of conducts on making memes.
Fahim Ahmed said on some memes he had received so much abuses that he had to delete them.
The meme makers believe that future of memes was bright as people wanted to learn more in less words that too in witty style. It is a known fact that Pakistanis are hotshot in creating funny memes.