If you’re not active on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter or Google+, you may be missing out on the joy of Internet memes. A meme (rhymes with cream) is “an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture” [Merriam Webster]. An Internet meme can be as short as a catch-phrase or as complex as a video clip. A lot of memes are simple graphics which are altered to suit different topics. When a meme is hot, you can be sure there will be variants related to birds or birding.
Last week a fresh meme started with photos depicting varying perspectives on occupations in shareable six-image graphics. What People Think I Do / What I Really Do grew to include hobbies, locations, medical conditions, and much more. Here’s a birdwatching one that was posted on the ABA Facebook group page. [Facebook original posting]
Birding – What I Really Do (click to see larger)
For most of the occupation-based graphics, the captions indicating different perspectives were roughly the same: Friends; Mom; Society; Boss; Self; and finally “What I Really Do.” Arthur came up with this one for birders. [Facebook original posting]
Black Rail – What I Really Look Like (click to see larger)
In case you don’t know, a Black Rail is a very secretive, hard-to-see bird. And the Richard Crossley caption refers to a rather unique photographic bird guide he published last year. Note that the Black Rail photos in this meme image were taken by photographer David Seibel. You can read about them here: Photographing the Black Rail.
Arthur came up with another one, this time on a very hotbed issue: outdoor cats. He shared this one on the Alley Cat Allies Facebook page, where it received a lot of positive feedback and was shared over
160 260 times. [Facebook original posting]
Cats Outdoors – What I Actually Do (click to see larger – on Flickr)
In preparing the Cats Outdoors graphic, we came across a lot of Flickr photos of cats carrying dead birds. We created a Flickr group, Keep Cats Indoors, and we invite anyone to add appropriate photos to the group. Warning: the group contains graphic photos of dead birds and dead cats.
If you know of any other bird- or birder-related variations on this meme, I would love to know about them. One problem I have with the fast-paced world of Internet memes is finding them after the popularity of the meme has died down. The nature of these graphic memes means that they aren’t necessarily optimized for finding via search engines at a later date.
Birdwatcher | What It’s Really Like [FB link] (click to enlarge)