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Internet memes are digital texts—verbal, visual, or audial—that share common attributes and undergo variations by multiple users. They are created with awareness of one another, and they require prior acquaintance for proper production and consumption, as the repetitive (or memetic) element of the text often incorporates coded cultural information essential for proper interpretation. The term meme has been ascribed to the repetitive component of these texts, to each version based on that constant component, or to the entire corpus of texts comprising the different versions. Although the term predates its online incarnation by several decades, the Internet (Web 2.0 in particular) constitutes a fertile ground for the proliferation of the memetic practice. This entry opens with a brief etymological overview of the evolution of the ...

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