Why Memes Are Important
And Why We're Launching The MemeTeam app
The MemeTeam App is a decentralised open-source app that uses the YFL governance token to help LINK marines fulfil their potential for becoming one of the most influential sense-making communities on the internet. The app makes it easy to mobilise the meme-generating capability of LINK marines, makes it easy to discover the most gripping and creative memes that LINK marines generate, and helps LINK marines reach a larger audience faster.
The first time I came across Pepe the Frog was in a private slack group some time around October 2017.
I can't remember what it was that I posted, maybe something about having placed a well-timed long on Bitcoin, but regardless, a few minutes after having posted the comment, I noticed that people were reacting to my post with an emoji that I had never seen before.
It was a green frog holding a hand to his chin, looking straight at the viewer with a smug smile on his face.
I didn't know what to make of it.
I couldn't quite tell whether the emoji reaction was a compliment, or whether people thought that my comment was overly smug.
Why Memes are Important
Googling "Smug Pepe" returned some articles about the birth of Smug Pepe, which didn't quite help me understand the emoji any better.
As time went by, I started seeing Smug Pepe everywhere. I started experimenting with using Smug Pepe reactions in conversations. And I started to develop a deep appreciation for the meme.
I just found that there were so many layers to this meme.
For starters, the most obvious layer is that Smug Pepe reflects the feeling of unabashed triumph that comes with achieving something significant (granted, more often the significance of the achievement in question is debatable 😂)
The next layer is Smug Pepe as an acknowledgement that, not only have you achieved a great triumph, but that a big reason why you managed to achieve that triumph was that you had the courage to break with conformity.
That you had the audacity to step outside of the "Matrix" that most people are imprisoned by.
That you have come to understand something that, well, few understand.
Yet another layer is that Smug Pepe is like a warm handshake from a friend, a fellow king, someone who understands just how few people have the guts to open their eyes and act on what they see.
I'm sure there are many more layers to this meme that I can't even begin to articulate or even fathom.
The point is that even to this day when I see a Smug Pepe reaction it just grips me at such a deep level that I can't help but let out a chuckle.
And Smug Pepe is just one out of the thousands or tens of thousands of memes out there, generated by who knows how many meme artists spread out over the entire internet.
What Great Memes Are Made Of
Good meme composers spot something new and challenging and complex.
Something that others can't see, or refuse to see, or can see but can't quite name.
Meme artists then grasp whatever it is that they have discovered, they get close to it, they play with it, struggle with it and then drag it kicking and screaming into being.
The result is a meme that grips its audience. A meme that helps the audience understand something about the world that they already knew deep down to be true but that was also just out of reach of what they could articulate on their own.
By doing this, meme composers and their memes help us make sense of a fast changing and complex world.
Memes have become a critical part of our collective “sense-making apparatus” as Eric Weinstein might put it.
And in today’s age of institutional cancel culture and even outright censorship, memes are often proving to be more useful and reliable for collective sense-making than traditional media, search engines and social media.
Where Great Memes Come From
As far as I can tell, the majority of great memes emerge from clever teams and vibrant communities.
Personally I’m more interested in memes generated by communities than those generated by dedicated meme teams.
Don’t get me wrong, I find highly produced memes created by teams like $BASED or $ROPE are enthralling.
░D░o░ ░Y░o░u░ ░H░a░v░e░ ░W░h░a░t░ ░I░t░ ░T░a░k░e░s░ ░T░o░ ░B░e░c░o░m░e░ ░A░ ░S░p░a░c░e░l░o░r░d░?░ pic.twitter.com/lwkpuP2USv— $BASED 🍥 (@BasedProtocol) October 12, 2020
But to me the more interesting aspect of memes is memes as collective sense-making tools.
And I just don’t see how one team generating memes to solve for a specific goal, whether it’s promoting a rebase or a new set of NFTs, could even come close to competing with a thriving and diverse community of meme composers and curators who can capture in a meme what they see in the world.
Which is why the #memes channel on the YFL discord is one of my favourite places on the internet.
I know it’s only a subset of the larger legendary battalion of LINK marine meme creators.
But I think it is a brilliant seed community that holds a huge amount of untapped potential.
And I have a hunch that it can grow into one of the most influential communities on the internet.
The Idea Behind The MemeTeam App
The MemeTeam app is an experiment to find out whether a decentralised, open source app built on top of the YFL governance token can help LINK marine meme creators and curators fulfil their potential for becoming one of the most influential sense-making communities on the internet.
The basic idea is for the MemeTeam app to use the YFL governance framework to mobilise the meme generating capability of LINK marines, to make it easy to discover the most gripping and creative memes they produce, and to help LINK marines reach a wider audience faster.
As far as I can tell, I don’t think something like this has been attempted before.
I have no idea if it’s going to work. But I’m keen to find out.
Overview of The MemeTeam App
The app itself is very simple.
With as little as 0.12 YFL, anyone can submit as many memes as they want via the MemeTeam app at https://memeteam.link.
The app submits the meme as a proposal on the (old) YFL governance contract.
Like with any YFL proposal, YFL holders have 3 days to vote on the meme.
Memes are displayed in a graphical interface, very similar to sites like giphy.com with filters and sorting options.
Note: the MemeTeam UI is unapologetically bland and generic. At this point we're focussing on discovering the core features. However once we are confident we've discovered these core features, we will start reshaping the product design
LINK marines can also use the MemeTeam app to vote for as many memes as they want, as well as to share any meme on twitter with one click.
That’s all very well and good, but in order to give votes for memes significance, we tie them to MemeTeam “Operations”.
This is where the rubber meets the road.
The vision here is eventually for anyone to be able to launch a MemeTeam Operation by submitting a proposal for an operation to an on-chain contract (possibly the YFL governance contract although we still need to work that out).
At the moment, launching a MemeTeam operation requires a YFL github admin to manually update a few parameters in the MemeTeam app.
However, at the end of the day, the MemeTeam app is open source, and the old YFL governance contract on which the app runs is also open and available on-chain for anyone to use.
So there is nothing that prevents anyone from launching their own meme operations, with or without the approval of YFL github admins.
Now, just because you launch a meme operation doesn’t mean that LINK marines will turn up!
It’s up to whoever proposes an operation to come up with campaign objectives, rules and incentives that will maximise the chances that LINK marines will answer the call to start generating memes.
Operations Dry Run and Bulls on Parade
To kick off MemeTeam, I’ll run the first two operations, which I’m calling Operation Dry Run and Operation Bulls on Parade.
The objective of Operation Dry Run, as you might guess from the name, is to iron out the kinks that will no doubt arise from doing something new for the first time.
Operation Dry Run will run from block number 11588550 (approximately Monday 4 Jan 2021, 10:00hrs UTC) to block number 11682300 (approximately Monday 18 Jan 2021, 10:00hrs UTC) and both meme submissions and voting will be incentivised with a combined prize of up to 13 YFL which I will fund myself.
Note for Operation Dry Run, please allow at least a couple of weeks for us to declare a winner as we're still working on a leaderboard. For subseuqent operations we should be able to declare the winner within a day
Also note that due to holiday period commitments, we might be slow to respond during the week of 4 Jan. However from Mon 11 Jan we should be fully back on deck
In the second operation, Bulls on Parade, we’ll incorporate what we’ve learned from Operation Dry Run.
At this stage I’m thinking that the objective of Bulls on Parade will be to showcase the meme talent of LINK marines in a free-form competition with a prize of up to 34 YFL (also funded by me).
Once we have Operations Dry Run and Bulls on Parade under our belts, well, let's just say we've bulked up Team 01 and have worked out a roadmap for the MemeApp that I'm really excited about.
These two operations are just the beginning.
I know I’m prone to overthinking and overexplaining sometimes, especially when I’m getting excited about something.
But I hope it’s also clear that the main point of all of this is to not take things too seriously and just have fun trying out something new.
I have no idea if MemeTeam is going to work, but I can’t wait to launch it and share it with everyone in the YFL and LINK marine community.
I mean, at the end of the day, what’s the worst that can happen, right?
P.S. Don’t for get to sell! 😂