Understanding the Internet: Memes

By February 10, 2017Blog, Dentistry, POTM

What’s a Left Shark? Who’s Salt Bae? Why do people keep posting this image of a tearful Michael Jordan?

Trying to understand popular Twitter and Facebook fads can feel like interpreting a foreign language. But learning how to use them in your social media efforts allows you to create some engaging, hilarious, and viral posts!

Communicating on social media, especially with 30-and-under demographics, requires a distinct skill set. On platforms like Facebook and Twitter, where message length and attention spans are extremely limited, posts need to have as much punch in as few words as possible to get engagement. Learning how to create “meme”-style posts can help you accomplish that!

What’s a meme? Generally, it’s a post that combines a currently trending image with a caption about a relatable situation or feeling, usually to humorous effect. You can see some of the most popular meme images of recent years in the featured image of this post. How many of them do you remember seeing on social media?

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For example, the Crying Jordan photo was posted and edited into other photos to illustrate how disappointed people were when their favorite sports team lost. We posted a meme of the salt-sprinkling chef, dubbed “Salt Bae” (popular in January 2017), on the My Social Practice Facebook page to convey how dental team members feel when putting the finishing touches on their work:

One vital thing to remember about using memes is that they are incredibly short-lived. Take for example poor Left Shark, who gained meme-level internet fame after flubbing a dance routine during Katy Perry’s halftime show at Super Bowl 2015:

via GIPHY

Now look at the Google Trends chart tracking the meme’s popularity:


Left Shark was the hottest thing on the internet — for about two weeks. This is the typical lifespan of a meme, so if you want to use one to strengthen your brand and expand your audience, you’ve got to act fast. Stay in tune with pop culture by following news blogs such as Mashable and Buzzfeed, and check out our blog post with tips on using current events and trends in your social media.

So the next time you see a meme and want to just pass it off as another bit of internet silliness, take a moment and think about how you could use it to share your practice culture or relate a funny aspect of working in dentistry. Just putting a smile on a potential patient’s face could be the beginning of a lifelong healthcare relationship!

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