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It is the inevitable end to every joke shared online - it will end its life as a meme. Pairing a picture and text has filled data servers, books, social streams, inboxes and more - and we’re slowly starting to understand the phenomenon. Research into how a meme rises, is shared and what makes one more successful than others is becoming big-business. But as qz note:

Attempts to predict what will go viral on the internet are based on the past behavior of a meme. As Coscia emphasizes in his work, no one has yet to rigorously demonstrate, in advance, why any particular type of content goes viral. This sort of prognostication remains an art rather than a science.


Check out some of the meme research.