[Update: I added the More about me(me) section, as well as some more information on how Doge has become a part of my life.]
Doge is absolutely my favourite meme of all time! It’s cute, funny, and relatable. I still giggle every time a new doge meme pops up. I don’t think it’ll ever get old to me! Do you have no idea what I’m talking about? That’s okay, keep reading. I’ll take you through what a meme is, how they came about, and the history of Doge and how it became viral! Buckle in for some serious wow.
What is a meme?
According to Paul Gil, a meme (pronounced meem), is a cultural symbol and social idea that spreads virally, similar to the way that a flu bug travels from person to person, a meme travels through social media. The term ‘meme’ was coined by Richard Dawkins in his 1974 book The Selfish Gene. In Sean Rintel’s The Conversation article, he explains how Richard Dawkins shortened the Greek term “mimētḗs” (meaning “imitated thing”) to coin the word ‘meme’ as a cultural analogue to a gene. Dawkins claimed that genes are subject to the forces of evolution: variation, mutation, competition and inheritance. Under the Dawkins definition, a meme can be any idea, behaviour or trend that has the ability to transmit from person to person.
SourceFed’s video explains that nowadays, memes are known as funny pictures or silly internet videos. The most common form of memes are humorous pictures with words on them which you share with your friends.
Sean Rintel describes how memes have three main properties:
- Intertextuality (memes reference other memes or concepts)
- Indexicality (an element in one meme can be used to comment on many situations)
- Templatability (memes have recognisable structures with room for new content)
These three features allow a meme to be created by anyone, about anything. People who create memes and don’t follow these rules tend to end up on reddit‘s Terrible Facebook Memes subreddit. However, as the concept of memes was created before the invention of the internet, that means memes existed in the real world too. Some examples include Kilroy was here from the 1940s:
and Frodo Lives from the 1960s and 70s:
I wasn’t around when these memes were running wild, but perhaps some of my older readers can remember them. If you’d like to know more about memes and their history, I highly recommend the following video:
Now let’s move on to my favourite meme in the existence of everything!
such doge very meme wow
Doge is a slang term for the word ‘dog’. It is primarily associated with pictures of the dog breed Shiba Inus (nicknamed ‘Shibe’) and internal monologue captions on Tumblr. These photos are often photoshopped to change the dog’s face or captioned with interior monologues in Comic Sans font. For example:
(click on the picture to be taken to the original source)
1. “Doge” is web slang for “dog.” The doge meme starts with a picture of a Shiba Inu.
5. The doge meme takes many forms. The same shibe images are manipulated or added into other photos for hilarious effect.
First of all, let’s talk about where the word ‘doge’ came from. The misspelling of the word ‘dog’ dates back to June 24th, 2005, when it was mentioned in an episode of Homestar Runner’s puppet show. In the episode, Homestar calls Strong Bad his “d-o-g-e” while trying to distract him from his work:
Now where did the photo of the majestic shibe come from? Well, her name is Kabosu and on February 23rd 2010, her owner, Atsuko Sato, posted several photos of the eight-year-old rescue-adopted Shiba Inu dog to her personal blog. Among the photos included a peculiar shot of Kabosu sitting on a couch while glaring sideways at the camera with raised eyebrows. This became the dominant image of the doge meme.
The beginning of the lift off of the doge meme started on October 28th, 2010, when a photo of Kabosu was submitted to the reddit subreddit, /r/Ads, with the title ‘LMBO LOOK @ THIS F***** DOGE‘. Then, in April 2012, Tumblr user leonsumbitches uploaded an audio file of a computer reading a passage about encountering a “doge,” which was accompanied by a photo of a woman patting a dog on the head, which you can see below. The audio post, which you can listen to here, has been played more than one million times.
The single topic blog Your Daily Doge was created in response, and proceeded to reblog leonsumbitches’ post numerous times. On May 7th, YouTuber KwandaoRen66 uploaded a video with a person reading the doge encounter text over a fake Pokémon battle:
By June, doge threads appeared on 4chan with people posting photos of dogs in different outfits, and in the same month, a photoset of a Corgi with a cup and saucer balanced on his head went viral on Tumblr after it was named ‘Polite Doge’. In August, the first doge single topic blog, F*** Yeah Doge, launched on Tumblr. The doge meme began to truly go viral when the single topic Tumblr blog Shiba Confessions was created, and people began to refer to these dogs as ‘shibes’.
The term ‘doge’ appeared on reddit in December 2012, in a post submitted to /r/DogsIWannaHug. On January 8th 2013, the subreddit /r/Doge was created, where users shared photos and videos of the captioned Shiba Inus. In May, /r/dailydoge was created to share one dog photo a day, captioned or not. Another single topic blog, shibe-doge, launched in July 2013 dedicated to sharing photos of Shiba Inus. On November 20, 2013, YouTube implemented an Easter egg that changed the text on the site to be coloured and in Comic Sans, just like that in the Doge memes:
The reason the doge meme was so successful and went viral is because it ticked the boxes for the six qualities that Ilya Pozin believes that content needs in order to go viral. The doge meme was:
- Short and sweet
These qualities allowed people to create their own doge memes, and share them with the world. This ultimately leading to Doge peaking in November 2013, according to this tweet by Asher Wolf:
Doge even ended up in Harry Potter! How much more popular can you get?! 😉
Very Magic. Such Patronus. Much Dementor. Wow.
The most notable impact of the doge meme was the creation of an entire new currency. On December 6th, Dogecoin was introduced as an alternative cryptocurrency based on the meme. The currency is marketed as ‘… an open source peer-to-peer digital currency, favoured by Shiba Inus worldwide‘ and is ‘the fun and friendly internet currency‘, and features Doge as its mascot.
Dogecoin currently has a market capitalisation of $USD 9,182,317:
The doge meme certainly impacted me. I invested in (a very small amount) of Dogecoin, I joined the /r/Doge and /r/SuperShibe subreddits, liked some Doge pages on Facebook, and I started following Shiba Inu, Marutaru, on Instagram. Most importantly though, my best friend, knowing my obsession with Doge, bought me a Doge purse and key ring for my birthday last year!
My Doge obsession didn’t stop there! For a good part of last year, I had the following majestic image set as my desktop background. I giggled every time I opened up my laptop.
I also had this inspirational image set as my phone background for some time:
I encourage you to visit zeldaboom’s Tumblr for more inspirational pictures of her beautiful Shibe.
More about me(me)
I have had further involvement in the world of memes. I am a regular viewer of the /r/AdviceAnimals subreddit on reddit. Despite its name, it features every and all types of memes, resulting in humorous posts that brighten up my day.
QUT even has its own Facebook group dedicated to memes about QUT. The group is open to all QUT students and we are encouraged to submit our own memes. I actively view the QUT Memes group and am enlightened with a new funny meme related to university or studying every day. The image to the left is an example of the type of content posted to the QUT Memes Facebook group.
I also made some memes of my own for this subject, for the first time ever! I found the creation process of coming up with something clever to fit the scenario quite challenging, but also fun. Meme Generator was an easy site to use to create memes, but then I discovered the iPhone app, Mematic, and the whole process became much simpler!
You can view some of the memes I made for IAB260 below. I am very proud of them!
Additionally, my boyfriend bought me the 2014 Grumpy Cat calendar for Christmas a couple of years ago!
AND I am the proud owner of an Awkward Moment Seal mouse pad!
Just as a side note, if someone would like to buy me this Doge sweater, I will be forever grateful:
As you can see, memes are slowly achieving world domination. Well, perhaps not, but the popular memes of today have certainly integrated into many more aspects of our lives than the old school memes of the past. As long as people continue to create memes worthy of virality, then they shall continue to be a part of both our online and offline lives. Doge especially is a very fun, simple meme. It has brought many people entertainment, and an appreciation for the silly personality of Shiba Inus.
Readers, what do you think about memes, in particular, Doge? Do you have a favourite meme? Have you made any memes you’d like to share? Leave a link in the comment section below to your memes, I’d love to check them out!
In the meantime, I will be waiting patiently for my Doge sweater to arrive. 😉