Take a trip down meme-ory lane

Do you know what a meme is? According to Websters, a meme is an idea, behavior or style that spreads from person to person within a culture. Coined by the British evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, the word is a shortening of the Ancient Greek mimeme, something imitated. Dawkins observed that memes act like genes—their success or failure dependent on the Darwinian processes of variation, mutation, competition and inheritance.

An Internet meme is a subcategory that includes all manner of silly, stupid, whimsical, bizarre, and cringeworthy things (videos, songs, phrases, words) that somehow float above the rest and become a part, however briefly, of the collective conscience. (Examples: planking, winning, lolcats, fail.) Check out the video above for an entertaining look back at the memes that metastasized in 2011.

See also:

  • Know Your Meme: Internet phenomena: viral videos, image macros, catchphrases, web celebs and more.
  • BuzzFeed: Breaking buzz and the kinds of things youd want to pass along to your friends.

Thx, Liz