How to Create a Popular Internet Meme

Updated on August 13, 2017
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David has some interesting ideas and views about the happenings regarding computers and the internet.


LOLCats are a very common internet meme.
LOLCats are a very common internet meme. | Source

What is an Internet Meme?

Meme's have been around for many years, even prior to the internet. Basically, it's an idea that spreads from person to person. The reason why internet memes are so popular is because it's easy to pass a meme from one person to another. This allows memes to spread like wildfire all over the world.

Internet memes not only produce some hilarious media, but are also an effective way to advertise an unknown or obscure product. Companies have used memes to advertise themselves, making a brand well known just by word of mouth over the internet.

Mostly, people like to coin memes themselves. In some cases, they can even earn a profit on them. Earning money from a meme shouldn't be the goal. The goal is to poke fun at something and to share it with others.

A word of warning, memes can be adult oriented, even mature in nature.

This article will cover the basics on how to make your own meme and how to spread it around the internet.

An Example of Dog Shaming

Dog shaming has been a very popular meme among animal owners.
Dog shaming has been a very popular meme among animal owners. | Source

Creating Your Own Meme From Scratch

There are a few things you need to create your own meme, without the use of a website:

  • A graphics editor program, such as MS Paint, Gimp, Photoshop, etc.

  • The font "Impact", which should already been on most Windows computers.

  • The ability to change the font to have white text with a black outline. A stroke effect should also be used in programs such as Photoshop.

  • Once you add the text to a photo, post it somewhere on the internet.

Video memes require much more, depending on what you want to do. You may wish to use your own equipment, software, etc. Or have someone else do it for you.

Grumpy Cat

If you are lucky you will have a meme that will make you rich.  Grumpy Cat is one of the small few that has made money due to the popularity of the Grumpy Cat memes.
If you are lucky you will have a meme that will make you rich. Grumpy Cat is one of the small few that has made money due to the popularity of the Grumpy Cat memes. | Source

Internet Meme Generators

Back in the day people had to use programs like MS Paint, Photoshop, etc. to make a picture meme. Fortunately, there are websites out there that make it simple to create your own meme. For the most part, you have a few choices when creating your very own meme:

  • Using existing pictures. There are hundreds of pictures that circulate the net which are used in memes. A lot of websites, such as Quickmeme, allow you to pick a picture, type in what text you wish to add to it, and let you go wild. The problem with this method is that there are potentially thousands out there already more popular than your own. While it may get a chuckle out of some, don't expect your meme to catch on.
  • Upload your own picture. This is where memes are born. Someone takes a picture, uploads it on the net, and a meme is made. Some sites, like Meme Generator, allow you to upload an image and create your own caption for it. While hundreds of people may be doing this all the time, a funny picture and catchphrase can make a meme start and spread throughout the internet.
  • Make your own video. What can be harder, but potentially much more rewarding, is making your own meme video. It's hard to describe what could end up being popular. Something not meant to be funny, could turn into something funny if used in the right way. There are also websites, like Meemsy, that allow users to use existing videos to create a meme.

There are other kinds of memes out there. While an internet meme generator can create a standard meme picture for you, some of the best ones out there do something different to stand out that can't be done in an internet meme generator. This article has many examples of that.

The Ha! Ha! Guy

Ha! Ha! Guy - An old, but popular internet meme.
Ha! Ha! Guy - An old, but popular internet meme. | Source

Spreading your Meme on the Internet

For a meme to grow in popularity, you must post it on various social media platforms. While the table below gives examples of different places you can post a meme, here are a few things to consider before doing so:

  • First, be active somewhere prior to posting something. Don't just make mass accounts everywhere just so you can post your meme. Users that see you have only one post with no other activity may dismiss your meme, unless it's incredibly funny and worth passing on. If you are active on a website, other users will take notice of you when you post something.
  • Choose sites related to the picture or video. If your meme has to do with video games, post it on forums and imageboards related to video games. That will generate the most interest to people who understand what your meme means. If it's about a particular game, then focus on websites associated with that game.
  • Post on to multiple meme websites. While memes can be anywhere, focusing on a few of the major meme websites will help your meme spread. Keep in mind these sites are hit with hundreds of memes a day. So unless yours really stands out, it could be buried and forgotten about in no time.

Places to Share a Meme on the Internet

Text Messages
Meme Sites
Sites Related to Topic of Meme
News Sites
Search Engines
There are a variety of ways you can spread a meme throughout the internet.

Doge Meme

Doge is a very popular meme.  It even spawned a digital currency by the name of Dogecoin.
Doge is a very popular meme. It even spawned a digital currency by the name of Dogecoin. | Source

10 Tips on Posting Memes

Here are some general tips when posting a meme that you created:

  1. Be respectful. Not everyone will like your meme, with some insulting it and you. Don't lash out at those people. That will only make you look bad and will discredit your meme, preventing it from catching on.
  2. Be prepared to hit adult oriented websites. Some of the more popular memes spread across some of the more adult oriented websites. So if you want your meme to spread, those could be the best websites to start with first.
  3. Provide the original, unaltered photo or video. This will allow others to make their own memes out of it, causing it to spread. If you can, try to ensure it starts with you, but that can't always be possible.
  4. Your meme will be modified. Some memes don't end the same way they start. Someone could take your picture and make some changes to it, then it turns into a popular meme. You will know that it started with you, though.
  5. Don't expect to earn a profit. Memes are meant to be funny, not to make money. While some companies makes memes to spread the word about something, they aren't used to directly make money. However, if you are in it to make money, focus primarily on videos.
  6. Don't be a copycat. Copying another meme in a poor way won't earn you more than a chuckle here or there, unless it's one that really stands out. Go for unique ideas that haven't been used before.
  7. Do research on a meme before you put work into it. Sites like Internet Meme Database cover the majority of memes on the internet. Do a search on memes like the one you want to make to see if it's been done before.
  8. Hope that you are lucky. You can't force a meme to become popular. A lot of times something becomes popular just by pure chance. It's all about luck and having your meme exposed in the right way.
  9. Have fun with it. Memes are meant to be funny, so have fun with it. You may be offended if someone makes fun of your meme, or does something with it you don't approve of. That is the point of memes.
  10. Don't give up. Your meme may not catch on right away, or may not catch on until the right joke is used with it. Keep posting them and don't give up. Never know, you could have the next big internet meme that spreads throughout the world.

Typical internet meme format.  #1 is where the text goes, while #2 is where the picture goes.  An example of this type of meme is below.
Typical internet meme format. #1 is where the text goes, while #2 is where the picture goes. An example of this type of meme is below. | Source

Ponder Monkey Template

Offer the original photo for people to use to make an internet meme from.  I call this one "Ponder Monkey".
Offer the original photo for people to use to make an internet meme from. I call this one "Ponder Monkey". | Source

Ponder Monkey Meme

My first Ponder Monkey meme.
My first Ponder Monkey meme. | Source

Examples of Some of the First Internet Memes

A Very Popular Internet Meme Video

One of the Most Popular Internet Memes of All Time

Questions & Answers

    © 2013 David Livermore


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      • TTGReviews profile image

        TTGReviews 3 years ago

        I have seen a lot of memes that people have posted on social media, but I have never really thought about making my own.

      • Joel Diffendarfer profile image

        Joel Diffendarfer 3 years ago from Ft Collins, Colorado

        Good job! I've created a few but didn't really know there was a name for them...this was enlightening, well written, and very useful...thanks!

      • visit2goa profile image

        Amit Kumar 4 years ago from New Delhi

        Nice post, and congrats! to the Author.. meme are really the worthful thing on internet to share the information in a positive way..

      • KoraleeP profile image

        Koralee Phillips 4 years ago from Penticton British Columbia Canada

        Memes can be so funny. I particularly like the memes from Wititudes right now on Facebook. They're really funny, generally not as crude as others, and mix a lot of everyday things with humor. I also didn't realize these photos had a name.

        Thanks for letting us know how easy they are to create, and sharing your tips on creating them.

      • Writer Fox profile image

        Writer Fox 4 years ago from the wadi near the little river

        This is a really great article and I loved your illustrations. Voted up!

      • techygran profile image

        Cynthia 4 years ago from Vancouver Island, Canada

        excellent article, David... I too will show my age by saying that I have heard of "meme" and seen them, but hadn't put the two together. Thank you!

      • sunilkunnoth2012 profile image

        Sunil Kumar Kunnoth 4 years ago from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India)

        Wonderful. A good topic with interesting features. Thank you for sharing such a nice stuff.

      • Bubblegum Senpai profile image

        Nigel Kirk 4 years ago from Calgary, AB, CAN

        The whole idea of a meme is that it just happens. A meme can't be forced. If it is forced, than it's just mass marketing, but by definition, it isn't a meme. One cannot create a meme. One creates a concept, and the rest of the community (in this case, the internet) makes it a meme. The internet community either likes what they see and imitates it or parodies it, or shares it, or it dies days after being released.

        That's why Milhouse is not a meme, but "Milhouse is not a meme" IS a meme.

      • Joseph Frankina profile image

        Joseph Frankina III 4 years ago from San Jose, CA

        Y u no make meme out of my face? Great article! I love memes, even though some are extremely childish.

      • anjaycrossroad profile image

        Anjay Crossroad 4 years ago from Europe

        Nice one :)

      • webscripts profile image

        webscripts 4 years ago from Chicago

        Meme is a fad and should go away sooner or later. This is what I have been thinking for few years and still this is just increasing.

      • Kevina Oyatedor profile image

        kevina oyatedor 4 years ago

        This is cool. I have always wondered how to do a meme, because they always make me laugh. Congrats on your hub of the day.

      • Dreamhowl profile image

        Jessica Marello 4 years ago from United States

        Congrats on Hub of the Day! I love that you included the video of Nyan Cat.

      • Scribbling profile image

        Scribbling 4 years ago from Mechanicsville

        Good stuff! Memes are strangely addictive sometimes. I got hooked on quickmeme for a good minute. LOL

      • heidithorne profile image

        Heidi Thorne 4 years ago from Chicago Area

        First, congrats on Hub of the Day! Honestly, I never even really understood the whole meme thing. Now I do. Thanks!

      • SidKemp profile image

        Sid Kemp 4 years ago from Boca Raton, Florida (near Miami and Palm Beach)

        How sad! The original notion of meme's included profound ideas. Back in the old days, "All beings are already enlightened" and "Be ye perfect, as your Father in heaven is perfect" were popular memes. Decartes' "I think therefore I am" was dead wrong, but at least it was a thought-provoking meme.

        Trust humanity to move reliably from the profound to the ridiculous.

        Funny, nonethleless. Thank you, and congrats on Hub of the Day.

      • rose-the planner profile image

        rose-the planner 4 years ago from Toronto, Ontario-Canada

        Great article and tips on creating memes! I thought the visuals you posted were awesome. Thanks for sharing. Take care. (Voted Up) -Rose

      • pinto2011 profile image

        Subhas 4 years ago from New Delhi, India

        Hi davidlivermore! Daily we see them thousands of times everywhere but hardly to stop to think about from where it is generated. You have shown it from their root and how to generate and own one. This is really fun activity.

      • Toytasting profile image

        Toy Tasting 4 years ago from Mumbai

        Totally love the 'Dumb ways to die' video. It had a very catchy tune as well. Congrats on Hub of the Day!

      • profile image

        tattuwurn 4 years ago

        Hmmmm... I'll try to create one! Thanks for your friendly tips! :)

      • agvulpes profile image

        Peter 4 years ago from Australia

        David. Thanks for putting a name to this 'phenomenon' and showing us how easy it is to make an Internet Meme.

        Congrats on your hub of the day award :)

      • starbright profile image

        Lucy Jones 4 years ago from Scandinavia

        Cool hub and very interesting. Thanks for sharing. Voted up.

      • rondmrn profile image

        Ron Mariano 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

        Wow, it's actually that easy to create a meme. We see this everywhere and at first I thought, people use photoshop or some kind of software. Interesting article and I learned something!

      • condominium profile image

        Jeffrey Dela Costa 4 years ago from Philippines

        My nephew told me that he used to "create internet memes that went viral" a long time ago. Maybe it's one of these pictures I see here? I will have to check with him. For quite some time I did not understand what these memes are until I read this article, so thank you.

      • DreamerMeg profile image

        DreamerMeg 4 years ago from Northern Ireland

        Very useful and interesting, thanks. I had heard of memes but didn't know just what they were. This has also come at a good time, as I need to start spreading the word on something, so a MEME might be the way to go! What do they say about ... "When the pupil is ready, the teacher will appear?" :) Now, I just have to develop a sense of humour, in the sense of being able to CREATE it, as opposed to laughing at someone else's.

      • mperrottet profile image

        Margaret Perrottet 4 years ago from Pennsauken, NJ

        I know that memes have been around on the Internet for awhile now, but I just recently realized that they had a name (guess I'm showing my age). Thanks for this great article on the phenomena, and how to get involved. Voted up, interesting and useful.