Wednesday, November 6, 2013

A Meme by Any Other Name

Look up the term ‘meme’ and you come up with a plethora of cultural and academic explanations about its meaning and use. Turns out it is much more than just a cute quip and a picture of an equally cute kitten.

What is clear is that a meme (rhymes with ‘team’) is a useful communication tool to convey information in an easily sharable format. Once created, it can be emailed, posted in blogs, shared on Facebook, tweeted, pinned and otherwise sent out on its viral merry way.

So how does one go about creating a meme? Here are a few basic rules:

  1. Facebook likes square images, so create your meme in a square shape for optimum viewing. (If it isn’t square, then the whole image won’t show in the timeline, and anyone who wants to see the whole image will have to click on it. That’s not bad thing, but your goal is to make it accessible and easy to see and understand.)
  2. Choose a graphic element, such as a chart or picture, and the basic fact you want to convey. Keep it short and succinct! You can also turn just a phrase or a few words into a sharable meme.
  3. Size the headline or first main sentence type size somewhere between 24 points; the secondary information or explanation between 16 points; and try not to use any type smaller than 14 point.
  4. If you are using Microsoft Word to create your meme, create a new document and customize the size to a square. Then set the margins at .3 or smaller. This will give you a good shape for your meme, and keep everything in a square with a minimal white space around it.
  5. Once you have everything done (and proofread!), you will need to save the image as a jpg or similar format. There are a number of ways to do this, based on what the document is in when you started.
    1. For a word document, save it as a pdf, then save the pdf as a jpg. (This is the quickest work-around – there are many other ways to do this.)
    2. I encourage you to Google “turning a word document into a jpg” for other options. You might find something that works better for you.
    3. You can also create your meme in other programs that allow graphics and text to be combined.
Below are a couple of examples of memes you can share today on your Facebook page or through email and twitter. Just click on the image, save it to your desktop, then place on you Facebook page or send a tweet. 

And get started today creating your own memes to share!


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