You think you know what something is, and then you realize you were wrong all along.
Meme (About): A “meme” is a virally-transmitted cultural symbol or social idea. A meme (rhymes with “team”) behaves like a flu or a cold virus, traveling from person to person quickly, but transmitting an idea instead of a lifeform.
In other words, you can’t create a meme. A meme is like a giant inside joke, and you need other people to “get it” for it to be a meme.
Image Macro (Wiki): On Internet forums and imageboards, image macros are used to emphasize a certain phrase (often an Internet meme) by superimposing it over a related picture.
Here is a classic meme:
All Your Base Are Belong To Us
Here is an image macro that uses that meme:
Here’s another example that’s been popular lately: First World Problems.
This is an image macro. The meme is the “first world problem,” like being embarrassed when your friends find out you buy store-brand ketchup. You don’t need the image, or the white text, for the concept to be a meme.
A meme is an idea. It isn’t visible or tangible. When you look at a Lolcat, you’re looking at an image macro. When you then text your friend about stupid your cat did using Lolcat speak, you’re spreading a meme.
This is an image macro that spreads the Call Me Maybe meme. It is not a meme in and of itself, it just makes funny on deconstructing that annoyingly catchy Carly Ray Whatever song using Breaking Bad as a theme. The meme is the song itself because it won’t get out of your damn mind.
Image Macros that are Not Memes
This is a spoof on Star Trek and Jay-Z, not really a memetic idea, I don’t believe 99 Problems qualifies as a meme. It is pretty funny though.
This is also not memetic. It’s just a reason to let Daryl look at you all sexylike, not that some of us need reasons.
This doesn’t represent any memes. What it does represent is me laughing so hard that my brain nearly flew out of my nostrils.
So, in short, please take up my cause to stop the internet from conflating these two terms, so that tweens using meme generator to post crap on 4chan might stop saying “HAY LUK I MADE A MEEEEME 2DAY.”