我们最有可能将其视为模因 – 互联网模因 – 是一种在线存在作为数字文件并通过互联网传播的模因。互联网模因不仅包括图像宏，它是图像和文本的组合，如Grumpy Cat meme，还包括照片，视频，GIF和主题标签。正如道金斯定义的模因是通过模仿（或复制）传播的人与人之间的传播，互联网模因也是如此，数字复制然后由在线共享它们的任何人重新传播。通常情况下，互联网模因是幽默的，讽刺的和/或具有讽刺意味的，这是使它们吸引人的一个关键部分，并鼓励人们传播它们，尽管不是唯一的。一些模因描绘了一种表现技巧的表演，如音乐，舞蹈或身体健康。因此，尽管像MemeGenerator这样的网站鼓励您相信，但不只是任何带有文字的旧图像都是模因。它们的元素，如图像或文本，或在视频中执行或在自拍中描绘的动作，必须被大量复制和传播，包括创造性的改变，以便有资格作为模因。 那么，将一些数字文件转换为模因而不是其他数据文件究竟是什么呢？道金斯的理论帮助我们回答了这个问题。根据道金斯的观点，使模因成为模因，或者成功地在人与人之间传播，复制和/或改编的东西，是三个关键的事情：复制保真度，或者有问题被准确复制的可能性;繁殖力，或物品复制的速度;和长寿，或在一段时间内的持久力。要使任何文化元素或工件成为模因，它必须满足所有这些标准。但是，正如道金斯在他的“自私基因”一书中指出的那样，最成功的模因 – 那些比这些更好地完成这三件事的模因 – 是那些能够满足特定文化需求或特别引起当代环境共鸣的模因。换句话说，捕捉流行时代精神的模因是那些最成功的模因，因为它们会吸引我们的注意力，激发归属感和与我们分享它的人的联系感，并鼓励我们与他人分享观看它并与之相关的模因和集体体验。从社会学角度思考，我们可以说最成功的模因出现并与我们的集体意识产生共鸣，正因为如此，它们加强和加强了社会联系，最终加强了社会团结。在这种情况下，Be Like Bill meme表达了对那些对网上看到的他们认为具有攻击性的事情感到不安和/或进入数字论证的人的沮丧。相反，信息是，人们应该继续一个人的生命。 Be Be Bill Meme就是这种现象的一个例子。在2015年上升到人气，并在2016年初达到顶峰，Be Like Bill填补了文化需求，让人们对线下和线上的事情，尤其是社交媒体上的事情感到沮丧，这些事情已成为正常做法，但许多人认为是讨厌或愚蠢。通过证明什么是合理的或务实的替代行为，比尔可以作为对抗行为的对立面。存在的Be Like Bill的许多变体及其持久力证明了它在道金斯的三个模因标准方面的成功。但为了更好地理解这三个标准是什么以及它们与互联网模因的关系，让我们仔细看看它们。
What we are most likely to think of as a meme—an internet meme—is a type of meme that exists online as a digital file and that is spread specifically via the internet. Internet memes consist not just of image macros, which are a combination of image and text like this Grumpy Cat meme, but also as photos, videos, GIFs, and hashtags. Just like memes as defined by Dawkins are propagated person-to-person through imitation (or copying), so too are internet memes, which are digitally copied and then spread anew by anyone who shares them online. Typically, internet memes are humorous, satirical, and/or ironic, which is a key part of what makes them appealing and encourages people to spread them, though not exclusively. Some memes depict a performance that showcases a skill, like music, dance, or physical fitness. So, not just any old image with text slapped on it is a meme, despite what sites like MemeGenerator encourage you to believe. Elements of them, like the image or text, or actions performed in a video or depicted in a selfie, must be copied and spread en masse, including creative alterations, in order to qualify as a meme.
What is it exactly, then, that turns some digital files into memes and others not? Dawkins’ theory helps us to answer this question. According to Dawkins, what makes a meme a meme, or something that is successfully spread, copied, and/or adapted from person to person, are three key things: copy-fidelity, or the possibility of the thing in question to be accurately copied; fecundity, or the speed at which the thing is replicated; and longevity, or its staying-power over a period of time. For any cultural element or artifact to become a meme, it must fulfill all of these criteria. But, as Dawkins pointed out in his book The Selfish Gene, the most successful memes—those that do each of these three things better than others—are those that respond to a particular cultural need or that particularly resonate with contemporary circumstances. In other words, memes that capture the popular zeitgeist are those that are most successful because they are the ones that will capture our attention, inspire a sense of belonging and connectedness with the person who shared it with us, and encourage us to share with others the meme and the collective experience of viewing it and relating to it. Thinking sociologically, we could say that the most successful memes emerge out of and resonate with our collective consciousness, and because of this, they reinforce and strengthen social ties and ultimately, social solidarity. In this case, the Be Like Bill meme expresses frustration with those who get upset over and/or get into digital arguments about things they see online that they perceive as offensive. Instead, the message is, one should simply go on with one’s life. The Be Like Bill meme is an example of this phenomenon. Rising to popularity through 2015 and peaking in early 2016, Be Like Bill fills the cultural need of venting frustration with things that people do both offline and online, particularly on social media, that have become normal practice but that many view as obnoxious or stupid. Bill serves as a counterpoint to the behavior in question by demonstrating what is framed as a reasonable or pragmatic alternative behavior. The many variants of Be Like Bill that exist, and its staying power, are a testament to its success in terms of Dawkins’ three criteria for memes. But to better understand what these three criteria are and how they relate to internet memes, let’s take a closer look at them.