In the decade of the Internet, information is abundant and so are pictures of animals.
Some of these animal pictures have grown so popular they have gained a cult following. The pictures have generated enough interest that they have turned into memes.
Memes are words, phrases, expressions or iconic images that are popularized online through sharing on social media forums or online games. They come in a variety of personalities, including animals, movies characters and regular people turned Internet famous.
Animal memes have caught the attention of millions on the Internet. They own a category all their own on websites, where memes are generated and shared. The question is, why are people both fascinated and amused by these pictures of animals? What drives the impulse to share these pictures with friends?
Many say animals are cute, therefore they like the pictures. Pictures of cats, dogs, bears and the occasional raccoon are plastered all over the Internet, each with a more creative caption than the last.
“Animals are cute, and people enjoy personifying animals already,” said Ashley Angelo, senior from Hazel, Ky. “So when you have a picture of an animal doing something hilarious, it’s funny to put a person’s response to the situation.”
Others, however, say the cute argument is too simple. Some even believe the popularity of animal memes is attributed to the animal being anything but cute.
One animal in particular has caught the attention of Amanda Baker, junior from Cadiz, Ky.
“I love pugs because they are not known for being typically cute,” Baker said. “I think the Internet set that in motion because I don’t own a pug or know anyone who owns a pug.”
Between the expressions and captions on the animal memes, a common trend is that the critters are often experiencing embarrassing situations.
Meme popularity is seen as an expression of sharing moods without updating a status on social networks. This is yet another reason the animals of the Internet have captured viewers, social network sites and hearts.
“They express things you feel or want to say in a certain situation, but can’t, either due to lack of originality or confidence,” Angelo said.
Murray State students also take advantage of animal memes as a way of escaping. Baker said she often looks at sites such as Reddit, Ninegag and Imgur for a good laugh.
“If I’m having a bad day or need a break from studying, I log on to social media sites and see what memes have been shared,” Baker said. “They
are just funny.”
Another reason sharing animal memes has been popularized is that the funny situations and human emotions the animals portray are fun for everyone.
“I just love how light-hearted and clean the humor is,” Angelo said. “Animal humor can usually be shared with anyone, so more people are going to share it with everyone around them.”
So, whether the reason is pro-cuteness or lack thereof, clean humor or relatable situations, people love animal memes.
Story by Hunter Harrell, Staff writer.