What makes the meme work

The popularity of a meme, like all viral phenomena, is emotionally driven.

Posts with positive vibes are more likely to be shared than those with negative messaging.

The exception is when it’s very negative, in which case, it could surpass the mildly positive post.

Posts that are arousing are more likely to be viewed, which is why sensationalist clickbait works so well.

You’re more likely to share if it makes you happy or mad.

But sometimes, viewing something arousing can lead you to share something mild that you viewed immediately afterwards, making this whole thing even more arbitrary.

Sometimes, you share something because you love the person that first shared it.

The resulting informational cascade then leads to a bandwagon effect, which in the best cases, can spark revolutionary movements, and in the worst cases, can promote cancel culture and hate.

While most memes are light-hearted, sarcastic, and sometimes self-deprecating, there have been instances where they were used for hate speech, racism, and xenophobia.