Weekly Wins February 12, 2021

The Half Life of Memes

This week, in the wake of the Super Bowl and the arrival of Cat Lawyer, we are struck by just how quickly memes arrive and grow completely tired. The half-life of a meme is measured in hours, not days or weeks— and we’ve got the receipts to show.  So fire up that cat filter, throw that feta-tomato TikTok pasta in the oven, and let’s analyze some memes on the meme life expectancy index shall we? 

In 2018, The Outline calculated that average Meme lifespan was 4.017 months. Another source clocked that at 6 weeks. That calculation is in direct relation to the remixability and how easy it is to use and spread. In 2021, the meme lifespan seems tied directly to the related news story it’s based on. Bernie Sanders, The Weeknd, and Lawyer Cat memes burn red hot and brightly for a few short days, or even hours, before heading into the yesterdays news scrap pile. According to scientific studies, they may live on occasionally in second showings or “meme spikes”,  but it is fresh creativity that will determine a meme’s timeliness. There is only so much you can do with I am not a cat or Bernie Sanders gloves.

These words are by Jackson Murphy

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