Memes are a growing part of our life and popular culture, especially online. We know memes as the pictures that go viral on social media sites. People use them to make jokes or make social and political comments. However, author Richard Dawkins, the originator of the word 'meme', is unhappy with the Internet defining a meme as a "picture with words". Mr Dawkins coined the term 'meme' in his book 'The Selfish Gene'. He said memes are ideas that replicate and spread from brain to brain, much like genes. He never uses the word 'meme' to refer to a picture with writing on it.
Universities now offer degree courses on memes. Northwestern University started its Meme Studies course in 2011. Britain's Sky News says memes help to make politics easier for young people. A Twitter user said: "Memes helped people understand more complex ideas, and that having politics framed in a different way makes it more [understandable]." Memes were an important way for people to express their views during the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The vice.com website said: "Memes now have as much power, influence and reach as the propaganda posters of yesteryear."