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Know Your Meme is a database style website run by Cheezburger Networks which is used to document memes, events, news, and viral media that spreads across or has an impact on the internet. As of March 2014, the site is maintained by staff members (Brad Kim, Don Caldwell and Molly Horan) as well as one developer (James Wu). Although it has a small support team, the site is largely dependent on crowdsourcing for the documentation of memes as they develop and for the submission of viral media as it spreads.
The Video Series
Know Your Meme (also abbreviated as KYM) began in late 2007 as a segment of the daily webcast Rocketboom.
As the segment became more frequent, the creators decided to spin-off the shorts into its own video series hosted by Kenyatta Cheese, Elspeth Rountree, Jamie Wilkinson, and Andrew Baron. Although the first video was released December 17, 2007, covering One Take, the YouTube channel KnowYourMeme didn’t get registered until November 5, 2009, and the videos didn’t get re-uploaded until even later in 2011.
The website presence of Know Your Meme began as a single page within the Rocketboom wiki, Wikiboom. The internet meme database soon found its new home at the domain knowyourmeme.com which was created November 25, 2007, but did not go live until December of 2008. In March of 2011, the web site and web series ownership was transferred to Cheezburger Networks for an undisclosed, seven-figure amount.
- For a full selection of episodes, please visit the Episodes tab.
The origin of the web segment Know Your Meme began as a simple and logical, yet witty dissection of what made a meme popular and how it related to other similar memes. As the segment became a spin-off series, the videos became longer and more closely examined the origins and workings of how the memes spread. This formula eventually led to the formula used to document memes on the Internet Meme Database. The focus of the earlier videos covered popular established memes, but then shifted in 2010 to focus on more current and relevant memes. Production of the web series ran from Late 2007 until Late 2012 and is currently in a suspended state of production.
Internet Meme Database
The catalog of memes within the site became known as the Internet Meme Database. While the articles and cross-referencing resembled similar Wiki-styled encyclopedias (such as Encyclopedia Dramatica), pages were more focused on user feedback, non-biased meme examination, and image/video hosting. As of May 2014, the IMD contains over 11 thousand articles, only about 1900 of which are considered as “confirmed” memes. Beginning in early 2011, the Database started offering more classification for articles other than “meme”. The 5 classifications it offers for articles are:
- Click on each of the buttons below to view entries in the corresponding confirmed category.
These articles are then sorted by Submissions, Confirmed, and Deadpooled labels after they have been edited and reviewed. These labels help new users determine whether the meme in question is in fact legitimate or otherwise pervasive throughout the internet. Articles are automatically given a “Submission” label after their initial creation. If an article does not meet the guidelines or is otherwise unsupported, then it is given a “Deadpool” label. Should an article show a fair amount of proper spread and recognition through out a portion of the internet, then it is given the title of “Confirmed”.
Visitors of Know Your Meme are presented with a daily updated internet news blog on the homepage which features memes, events, and other viral media that is trending at the time. Time to time, special blogs are posted which recap the hit memes of the year and feature visual break downs of memes or exclusive interviews. The site also previously featured a monthly blog, recapping the hit memes and events of the month.
Due to the user driven dependence of the site, a forums section was created for users to fraternize and discuss the relevance of memes and current trends of the internet. To date (September 2014) the Forums contains almost 20,000 unique threads. Each of these are sorted into sections of Discussion, Media, Fun!, and Site Maintenance which themselves have many sub-topics.
As of March 2014, the Know Your Meme YouTube channel currently has 214,973 subscribers and approximately 24.5 million views. The Facebook page for KYM has 313K likes and the Twitter account has 27.2K Followers. The number of users registered for the site is approximately 222,000 with only a fraction of those being active users.
Know Your Meme’s research and reporting has appeared in major news publications and outlets, including the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, NPR,PBS, CNN, MSNBC, Wired,TIME, Newsweek, The Atlantic, The Guardian, The Telegraph, Le Nouvel Observateur, Le Monde, Der Spiegel and The Estadão among others. Know Your Meme has also earned several awards for its research including the 2010 Streamy Award for Best Guest Star in a Web Series and the 2012 Webby’s Award for Best Cultural Blog.
Current Quantcast readings indicate that Know Your Meme currently receives (as of March 2014) upwards of around 11.5 million views per month and give the site a US ranking of 486th. Rival website ranking corporation, Alexa, places the site at 1,185, but only obtains it’s data through estimates and not direct measurements.
Google Trends shows a steady incline since the site’s birth up until late 2011 after which searches rapidly declined until late 2013. This rapid decline is most likely due to the suspension of the KnowYourMeme video series.