Colloquy Undergraduate Research Journal

Article Title

The Genre of the Meme


The development and proliferation of the Internet has led to numerous discoveries in the study of media and communication. Such a recent development in online communication is the rise of the online meme. The traditional meaning of meme has been transformed and has developed a new meaning within the sphere of online communication. The meme as defined by its new meaning has recurred in myriads, which have provided enough reason and data to develop a rhetorical genre for the subject. The first half of this study—the background—will begin with an orientation to the meme, an explanation of generic criticism, and a look at ten examples of generic criticism. The second half of this study—the analysis—will begin with an application of the theory to the artifacts by developing common characteristics, contextual commonalities, and representative qualities; then an analysis of the generic development through rhetorical strategy, rhetorical situation, and audience effects; and finally a development of implications of this study.