Monday, 22 April 2013

How to Create A Meme

I started to write this on April 1 and realized it was the next best thing to an April Fool joke. The ambitious title promises help in creating a meme--a tall order since the definition of a meme is still fluid and transforming  through usage as a computer term.

The precedent is already set. Icons morphed from being religious images of saints and the Holy Family, usually painted on wood, into being pictorial symbols for computer files in the late twentieth century. Now journalists use the word wholesale to tag any celebrity or charismatic politician.

The word meme is relatively new but since its appearance just thirty years ago to denote a cultural imperative passed wordlessly through generations, it has changed to refer to any picture of image which catches global attention.

Now it's an image or video that goes viral on the Internet--usually humorous and/or political. Sharing across social networking sites and through emails makes it easy to attract world-wide interest.

Creating the image is the easy part. Creating the true viral meme is in the lap of the gods.

How to Create Your Meme

1. Decide what you want it to do: promote a book or a service, share a worthwhile quote, make a statement about life.
    Have a look at one choice for the twenty-five best memes of all time.
    Warning: this could be a time waster.

2. Check out the many meme generators online--another time-fill for those of us happily procrastinating out there.

A review of the best meme generators is a useful starting place if you want an off-the-peg solution.
     Or: check out piZap.
     Warning: lots of ads but it is an amazing free photo editor. 
Select edit photo and you will find a meme option which allows you to add text top and bottom meme-style. You can also create photo collages and FB timeline covers.

3. Choose your own image to suit your purpose.
    Warning: Remember laws of copyright apply
You need to use your own photograph or choose one that has a licence to allow its adaptation as a meme. If using your book cover for promo purposes, make sure the meme text is memorable not just a buy me shout.

Useful software

Unless you already have photo editing software, try Paint, more features than the Microsoft version, or PowerPoint, or Gimp.
You can use a plain background for quotations
Just fill the box with the color of your choice.
Add text or text and photo and job done.

If you're using Powerpoint. select a size, add image, caption and off you go.

Related text
Writers on the Move: Memes and Themes

Let me know how you get on and send me a link to your meme. Hopefully we can create a mini meme gallery here to showcase them. Have fun.


  1. oo ah! more fun things to do after visiting The Slow and Steady School of Writing. I wanna make a meme. A great excuse to delay chapter 13. :)
    Also, in the 25 best memes of all time, number 18 is still my all time favourite. I so get that one.
    Okay can't hang around, must be off to My Pictures to look for a suitable meme pic. Might not come up for air for days.

  2. I did it. I think. Spitzli's attempt at a meme is on my wall on FB.

    If the writing at the bottom is cut off, just click on the picture.
    Maybe the writing is a bit too big.

    Thanks for your post. I had fun.

  3. Just love Spitzi's meme. Writing appeared top and bottom when I visited--very funny. Thought you might enjoy it after all the work on logos at the Muse Conference.
    Now waiting for Spitzi's novel...erhem, and yours... hehehe


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