Know Your Meme is an invaluable reference for those who live and work in internet culture. When an idea goes viral and appears everywhere at once, Know Your Meme has already determined the original source and tracked its growth and evolution. Websites and sources come and go, but the database serves as a historical archive. The site began when a group from Rocketboom began noticing that brands were using internet content without crediting the originators. It started as a video series, but the database that soon followed is what makes it so useful. Now Know Your Meme is marking its tenth anniversary, so it's a good time to learn more about it.
Know Your Meme set itself apart by approaching memes with journalistic integrity and rigor long before most people thought they deserved such treatment — or even knew what they were. The website has since become the go-to encyclopedia for internet culture, an ever-expanding library of memes and other internet phenomena that gets cited by publications like The Atlantic and The Washington Post, and receives fact-checking calls from The New York Times. Though much of the content it’s called upon to explain is silly, heinous, or both, it has built a reputation as one of the very few reputable sources on the machinations of the most important and little-understood invention of our lifetime: the social web. Nobody knows more about lols and GIFs, the mechanics of a viral goof, or the life and times of Pepe the Frog. Nobody has dug deeper into the cesspools of 4chan or the acid-trip wonderland of Tumblr. Nobody has seen this much shit.
The Verge talked to the founders and the current editors of Know Your Meme about the site's history, the importance of memes, and how internet culture has changed over ten years. That's the depressing part. -via Digg