Why are memes so great?


Nick Tomaino of 1Confirmation posted a great article recently, talking about the importance of memes to cryptocurrencies.

Memes transcend language. I heard something back in school that people in villages who don’t have access to the internet can still pick up on the emotions of a foreign song. I think memes do the same thing. I think it’s the same reason why Mr. Bean is a universal tv show and many regional soap operas are stuck to their region. I used to dismiss them as silly or stupid but there’s something so basic and primal about them, that a human doesn’t have to think to even process them.

Couple of questions.

  1. Why do you think memes are so powerful (what about human nature or our culture makes them so powerful at communicating)
  2. What’s your all time favorite meme?

Welcome to TruStory!

Most memes are only funny with context or a caption (opinion lol. Don’t ask me for evidence). This one always make me smile, without any explanation.


  1. I think that in political speech memes are powerful to the side that favours freedom of speech. Because if you suppress that freedom, your memes start to deteriorate as a consequence. I think Tim Pool explains this perfectly: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mstjpv4_liI - Why they’re so powerful probably has to do with their ability to easily convey a complex idea across cultures, language and like Tim says, their ability to quickly change and adapt.

  2. My current favourite is the NPC meme which is basically about people that don’t think critically. I think all memes eventually become a little cringy so I don’t have an all time favourite, but if I had to choose, I’d go with Doge of back in the day with the Dogecoin community.

Bonus-meme: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r8Y-P0v2Hh0


Memes are powerful because they scale inside jokes and references. Assuming humans are tribal creatures, they allow us to extend identity and common beliefs/experiences across time and space. Religion, nationality, gender - these are all memes. Their power should reflect through these examples.

I’m working on an article arguing that we should approach cryptocurrencies as religions rather than software. It explains why the best tech doesn’t win, and why their potential is so damn compelling. The one caveat here is that it only explains truly open-source, p2p networks - sorry, dfinity.


The fact that humans use symbol systems for communication, where we have access to the territory and the map, sets us apart from any animals we know of and likely adds to the effectiveness of memes.

Even reading a paragraph is in essence many concepts (written words) that reduce reality to a well arranged set of symbols. One quick meme sentence or image can sum up an entire ideology or just give the reader something to expand on in their own mind. Also the fact that memes are so entertaining, and the good ones spur such a strong emotional response could be part of it too.


Very good article explaining the importance of inclusive community building to the success of crypto endeavors. Here’s meme text to sum it up “BUIDL WITH THEM, AND THEY’LL ALREADY BE THERE” :grin:

  1. Memes are great because they depict a particular event that people can relate to. Memes can also be modified so that a single meme can represent different scenarios
  2. I’m not sure if I have an all time favorite meme, but I’ve been liking the surprised Pikachu lately: https://knowyourmeme.com/memes/surprised-pikachu

  • Memes need very little attention span.
  • A general context around a meme is assumed as one might have already seen the same meme (or) already knows the context of content that was used to make one. Easy to relate and no confusion about intent.


I’ve always wondered what about religion or celebrity or idols, makes people so irrationally crazy about them. It’s all the same. Memes. Memes are brain viruses.

In this age where we’re trying to steal people’s attention (for marketing or branding, etc), memes are the most effective way to do it. If you look at YouTube videos or Instagram, all the “influencers” morph into these people making caricatures out of themselves in attention-grabby ways. Colorful thumbnails, long /sensationalist titles… Gaming social media and human nature.

I can’t wait for the day medidated, long-form, well-thought out content makes a comeback!


True that. I agree…it’s not good for our brains and psychology…


I feel like that’s one of the reasons Tony Sheng’s newsletter is so great (and successful, yeah ik that’s subjective). He doesn’t post often but when he does, it’s a killer post.

Random thoughts I don’t know where else to put and am too lazy to write a blog for right now, at this moment.

  • Memes --> memorable --> memory
  • Marketing is stealing people’s attention and making it worth it.
  • If you steal it too many times (like the boy who cried wolf too many times)
  • Brand is trust that you have with a person in a company.


Memes can help express otherwise forbidden opinions.

China’s web users soon discovered they could express their (political) opinion in creative ways without being blocked by censors. Although online memes exist all over the world, Chinese memes are different from their western counterparts because the Chinese language is ideal for the creative use of characters. Words that are otherwise censored might get twisted and altered by the use of different characters. Chinese readers will still understand its true meaning, but censors will not look for it until it goes viral. Not only textual memes are popular in China, images are also widespread; they are also difficult to track for censors and cannot be blocked through keyword search functions.



if you keep thinking about the power of memes and how much control they have over people’s lives and emotions, think of bitmoji. my 8 year old nephew and 11 year old niece LOVE playing around with it. really depicts their emotions and feels with technology, and introduces them to thoughts their brains have not developed yet.

thinking about this, if there was an app for kids to create their own memes (like bitmoji) but in educational constructs, how much more kids would learn and grasp.


The primary reason memes are so popular today is:

  1. It requires minimal attention span
  2. It brings more emotions than just words
  3. “Most” memes are language independent

They might not be the best development for sane discussions, they do hold importance in getting people together against/for an occurrence. That use-case in itself is really strong.


As humans we want to be relatable, we seek connection with other individuals, and we yearn for a sense of togetherness.

Memes are revolutionary because never before have these feelings been possible to attain so quickly and with so little resistance.

They are amazing as a platform for people to relate with each others life experiences through just a glance at an image or phrase.

The depth of such a connection is questionable though, connecting through memes is often a much shallower connection than spending time together in person, and one downside is that memes are likely just adding to our current culture of craving quick dopamine hits while foregoing a longer term sense of fulfillment.

But hey i’d still much rather live in a world with memes than without. The best memes are the ones that come about as a result of going through hardships together or building a community together! For example, I am a Georgia Tech student so I often see memes from a group called “GT memes for buzzed teens”. Some of these memes allow the student community going through a tough situation together to relate to each others’ pain in a way that would have never been possible without memes.


Memes are propoganda for the 21st century


It’s like imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. When people share memes and they go viral, you feel part of a community. Some memes bring up nostalgia for whatever pop culture reference. Example – saw this the other day and it cracked me up cause I loved the movie Shrek when I was 12.



Memes are powerful because of 1) they make you feel part of a community, as @HelloRena mentioned and 2) they provide context/relatability to an esoteric [to general public] topic like crypto, or to a celeb/public figure that we “regular people” can’t otherwise relate to. I feel like it used to be that memes were only photos of celebrities, and now anyone become a meme.

I think of the Hillary Clinton texting meme, or the most recent meme of Nancy Pelosi in her orange coat. When you become part of a meme - for better or worse - more of the masses suddenly pay attention. Pelosi’s been part of the political leadership for years, but I’ve never seen as much press as her coat has brought her.


As a follow up to this point, Allen Farrington did a great job of articulating humor as a tool against authoritarianism:

online corporate giants have no idea what to do with humour, since humour always will target a society’s prevailing dogmas—including, at the current cultural moment, the earnest mantras that govern corporate messaging. Humour also happens to be the most powerful weapon against authoritarianism (corporate or otherwise), because it leaves an irreversible impression on its audience. Your intellectual ideas may be revised or rejected as you re-evaluate your premises in light of new experiences or reflection. But if you find something funny , that can’t be edited out by intellectual efforts. It will sit with you, and may well fester into thoughtcrime. Humour can turn heretics into folk heroes who must then be shunned and de-platformed

Source: https://quillette.com/2018/12/20/pewdiepies-battle-for-the-soul-of-the-internet/


Being able to craft a great meme is a skill in itself as Erik Torenberg points out on Twitter:

“You have to capture the essence of an idea such that it’s so crisp & compelling the reader immediately gets it + shares.

Combines poetry, brevity, knowledge of how ideas spread—and a genuinely novel concept or framing.”

‪Being able to produce a great meme may be a core responsibility of “Social Media Manager”. Memes might be part of your portfolio. ‬