An Internet meme is an activity, concept, catchphrase or piece of media which spreads, often for humorous purposes, from person to person via the Internet. An Internet meme may also take the form of an image, hyperlink, video, website, or hashtag. It may be just a word or phrase, sometimes including an intentional misspelling. These small movements tend to spread from person to person via social networks, blogs, direct email, or news sources. They may relate to various existing Internet cultures or subcultures, often created or spread on various websites, or by Usenet boards and other such early-internet communications facilities. Fads and sensations tend to grow rapidly on the Internet, because the instant communication facilitates word-of-mouth transmission.
An Internet meme may stay the same or may evolve over time, by chance or through commentary, imitations, parody, or by incorporating news accounts about itself. Internet memes can evolve and spread extremely rapidly, sometimes reaching worldwide popularity within a few days.
“Meme” as a word was first created by Richard Dawkins in his book to explain the way cultural information spread. As a result, Internet memes now exist and are specific to the culture and environment of the Internet.
In 1993, Mike Godwin was the first to propose the concept of the Internet mem in the June issue of Wired (A monthly American magazine).
In 2013, Dawkins considered the Internet meme as a meme deliberately driven by human creativity. He explained that Internet memes are a forced usage of the original idea. Moreover, Internet memes have an additional advantage over the original memes: they leave a footprint wherever they are used, which makes them traceable and analyzable.