How to avoid Internet regurgitation

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I complained yesterday about how the same “funny” images are endlessly recirculating on the Internet. Of course, that’s how a meme develops – the photo or whatever needs to be shared over and over. When something is reblogged on Tumblr hundreds or even thousands of times, that is part of what Tumblr is about and why it is so popular. Let me refine my argument by saying that we should strive for more variety. To that end I found the photo above on MlkShk (“milkshake”) yesterday and considered sharing it elsewhere. I’d never seen it before, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been posted and reblogged dozens of times. So I used a “reverse-image” search engine called TinEye. This is what I got back:

TinEye quickly found 120 instances were the photo was used already. Now here I am with 121. Fine, let everyone share and remix to their heart’s content. TinEye is a cool service that also can serve as a helpful analytical tool. Besides the website, there are TinEye browser plugins for Firefox, Chrome, and Internet Explorer. A TinEye Android app is in beta testing. Oh yeah, I also complained about being disappointed with MlkShk, which is a new image-sharing site in beta testing. I spent more time on the site and found the quality of material was much better than I encountered during my first survey. I’m also getting a better feel for how the site and community work. Request an invite and give it a spin.

The Internet is trying too hard

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 (Above) My unfunny attempt to modify the now-famous Situation Room photo.

I was going to write about how the news of Osama bin Laden’s death developed Sunday night on Twitter, especially since I happened to be browsing tweets when the first word of the “10:30 p.m.” announcement appeared. But Twitter has eliminated the time-stamp feature for tweets, so now I can’t figure out the exact sequence of events that night. I hope Twitter brings that feature back.

In the meantime, I want to complain about something: There are too many people trying to create Internet memes, including myself. On Monday, a photograph was posted on the White House Flickr account showing President Obama and others in the White House Situation room watching the bin Laden raid. Within an hour, altered versions of the image began showing up on the Internet. The first ones I saw featured the frowning flower girl from Friday’s royal wedding, a surprised cat, sad Keanu Reeves, and Rick Astley. In my opinion, none were particularly clever or funny. More

THEN WHO WAS PHONE?

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Dad is Ded!

“THEN WHO WAS PHONE” is an example of a not-scary “creepypasta.” If you were scared, I apologize. If you have no idea what is going on, I’ll explain later. [Edit note: I forgot to mention that I think “THEN WHO WAS PHONE?” is absurdly hilarious. The schlocky story and the bad grammar and spelling fits with my twisted sense of humor.] I was reading about creepypasta on Know Your Meme, the encyclopedia website I wrote about in January that documents the universe of Internet memes. A website called Tubefilter, which I had never heard of before Monday, broke the news that Know Your Meme was being sold to the Cheezburger Network. Maybe this is where I start to lose you again. Cheezburger is the home of LOLcats, as in “I can haz cheezburger?” I wrote about the Cheezburger Network getting $30 million in venture funding in January. Some of that money was used to buy Know Your Meme. More

Turning LOLcats into an online empire?

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The Cheezburger Network is getting $30 million in funding, according to this Mashable article. I like a clever LOLcat every now and then, and apparently so do 16.5 million people who share a half-million pictures and videos a month through Cheezburger.com. The $30 million in funding means the investors believe this company can make much more than that in return, eventually. However, is this another bubblicious example of bubble investing? I don’t know, but it sure feels like 1998 again. Except, of course, we’re in a wretched recession. Maybe we can bubble our way out of the recession!

Anyway, for people interested in memes, this is what Cheezburger CEO Ben Huh believes:

It may seem odd that a company that produces and proliferates memes would be able to attract such attention from investors, but, as Ben Huh said at the Web 2.0 Summit the creators of meme are “the rockstars of tomorrow.” When something goes viral, it — obviously — gets a lot of eyeballs (see Ted Williams’s video scoring more than 13 million views and attracting the attention of scads of advertisers), which is an attractive prospect for investors.

Know Your Meme

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Have you wondered how an Internet meme got started. Know Your Meme is a great place to find out about such Web sensations as Keyboard Cat, Epic Beard Man, Three Wolf Moon T-shirts, Leeroy Jenkins, and, of course, Dramatic Chipmunk. Hey, did you know that the chipmunk was actually a prairie dog? Or that the original video footage came from a Japanese TV show called “Hello! Morning”? All the Know Your Meme videos are organized on its Web site, as well as tons of other fun stuff. You can spend hours digging through all the foolishness that makes the Web the great time-waster that it is.

Oh yeah, an Internet meme is an idea that spreads on, yes, the Internet. The origin of the word meme is explained on Wikipedia:

The British scientist Richard Dawkins coined the word “meme” in The Selfish Gene (1976)[1][4] as a concept for discussion of evolutionary principles in explaining the spread of ideas and cultural phenomena. Examples of memes given in the book included melodies, catch-phrases, fashion, and the technology of building arches.