Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Lolcats iPhone App/Memes

Last night as I was watching TV, a commercial came on that caught my attention. The commercial showed images of the Internet meme lolcats. Lolcats is a website where humorous pictures of cats are submitted and captions are added to tell viewers what the cats may be thinking. Also, viewers can rate each picture on a scale ranging from awful to excellent. The captions are written in interesting ways. For example one picture shows a cat sleeping with the caption “I’m in ur bed zleeping.” Another picture shows a cat with a completed Rubik’s cube with text “dere, all done I thought u said dis was hard?” Words are shortened as they would be in instant messages or texts.

The narrator in the commercial stated these cats have been pushed too far (exploited by lolcats) so they decided to retaliate. Basically this television channel created an iPhone application where the lolcats became “meowcenaries” and have to save their president from the Evilcat.

In the text memes are described as “contagious patterns of cultural information that are passed from mind to mind and directly shape and propagate key actions and mindsets of a social group.” Good memes have distinct characteristics. They include longevity (how long they last and are passed to additional people), fidelity (they resonate with viewers) and fecundity (the ability and speed in which they are replicated).

In this commercial there was no real mention of what the lolcats website was, but it was funny to me, and I’m sure others who have seen the site and know the popularity of this Internet meme. Here is a screenshot of the game and its description.

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