Attitudes are definitely heating up on court and off as the Miami Heat and the Chicago Bulls face off in the 2013 playoffs.

 

Tensions were at an all time high after Chicago beat the Heat in Game 1. But defining moments of physical aggression put in motion what I am calling the “Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls Meme War”. It all really exploded when Miami Heat fan was caught in a photo giving Joakim Noah the middle-finger as he was walking off the court after being ejected from Game 2.

 

This fan who has been identified as Filomena Tobias has become an internet meme sensation instantly after the photo went viral. Other popular memes include a side by side photo of Joakim Noah being compared to Sloth, a character from The Goonies.

 

With all these memes being thrown back and forth as a means of retaliation, I started to wonder about the origin of memes.


What is a meme?

 

The term meme was coined by Richard Dawkins, an evolutionary biologist in his 1976 book titled “The Selfish Gene”. The term meme refers to cultural concepts that spread widely from person to person, and in this day in age, the internet is the fastest route of doing so. These small cultural movements primarily exist in the form of image, hyperlinks, videos, pictures or hashtags and are usually spread via email, social networks or blogs.

 

Internet memes seem to be giving mass populations a form of expression. Most of the time they are quite amusing but can be a little mean.

 

The point is that these memes are doing a lot more than just amusing people.They are causing reactions (both positive and negative), they are defining social cultures, they are marketing brands and all of this is taking place whether we are aware of it or not. What this means for a brand or in this case, a sports team is that their image or brand is being viewed and perceived by large populations in a certain way that is out of their control.

 

Content is being constantly created, shared and commented on by users. While this kind of exposure is completely free and organic, the disadvantage is that brands are not able to moderate the content being put out by users, which can prove to be harmful. All in all, memes are interesting to follow not just from an online marketer’s standpoint but from a sociological standpoint.

 

Game 4 occurs tonight at 7pm, I am curious to see how people will generate memes in real time during the game that will keep the “Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls Meme War”going.