Thursday, October 1, 2015

The many imitations of "doge"

Memes are everywhere in our culture. The internet makes the interaction and sharing of a meme too easy. In Limor Shifman's Memes in a Digital Culture, Limor says the success of a meme is based on simplicity, humor and participation. Something simple and funny can be used as a tool for expression on the internet and they become more popular with each imitation. Memes can be reproduced and edited to fit any situation.

Doge - Full Image

The doge meme started with this picture of a Shiba Inu taken in 2010. The photo was then passed onto Reddit where it took off with the addition of texts.
Restraining order is now in effect
It even made its way into politics.

The meme gained popularity before hitting its peak in 2013. After so many recreations of the meme, the image of a Shiba Inu became enough context for the meme.
The doge meme was so simple it spread like wildfire.
 What makes it funny? In the original it is just the frozen motion of the dog's face, stuck in between a movement. To express a awkward emotion that we can identify with. Then later with reproductions when it got associated with the misspelled "doge", using misspelled words to direct the way the meme is used. They even stick with Comic Sans. Doge embodies a dumb characteristic, no offense to dogs. The doge went far, too far. Bitcoin, a form of internet currency, picked up the doge meme and made it its own cryptocurrency. 
Image result for dogecoin
This internet joke got a currency! The value of the currency fluctuates with the popularity of the joke. Today 1000 dogecoin is worth about 14 cents. But the imitations do not stop there.
Internet communities unified through dogecoin, coming together to sponsor NASCAR driver Josh Wise at Talladega. They funded athletes at the Sochi Olympics, they found ways to get people to donate to charities. 

And in nature of a meme's function, these reproductions are what makes this funny.

We've gone from the surprised Shiba Inu in 2010, to a myriad of japanese dogs taking over the internet with typos in Comic Sans, to a recognized internet currency to NASCAR and back. The internet breeds this type of behavior. We love to see how far a joke can go. But eventually this cultural phenomena could be disastrous. If we took something more real than a "doge", like Donald Trump running for president for example, and let it run, what could happen?

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