Written by an actual memer, not a journalist who thinks s/he knows the internet.
If you were unaware of memes and wanted to get involved, you'd probably be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of memes produced, or you'd find yourself in rabbit hole trying to find the origination of a meme. I'll write this for the common man who knows memes beyond @Daqaun or iFunny.
Side Note: I made a Meme Mockumentary if you wish to spend 14:30 minutes watching kids talk about memes and real life dreams
Second Side note: I don't want to upset Apple (Apple News) by including *edgy* memes in this post, so all memes will be just image hyperlinks. The Memes will have to be censored regardless.
Memes. In my best personal opinion regarding the relationship between Meme and it's Memer, Memes are an expression of satire that can either reflect a sociopolitical view, reframe an idea or person, or use absurdity as the form of satire.
During the election of 2016, many Memers were conservative, it came across that way by the large amounts of anti-Hillary memes. That's not to say there were many pro-Trump memes, in fact, there are many memes that make fun of Trump's rather porous presidency, but it was clear many Memers took it upon themselves to express themselves through memes.
Another (more timeless) example, is Memes satirizing the feminist movement and the nonbinary gender movement. Timeless because this topic of Memes has never depleted.
Hopefully, after 3 examples, it becomes a bit clear that there are clear narratives that these memes fulfill. As odd as it comes across, I do believe these examples fit the definition of works of art, for they are creative pieces of self-expression with a purpose in mind. Even if the meme makes fun of people who like Chris Brown (because of his violent past), or if a meme makes fun of other Memers (yes, meta-memes exist), they all use satire to drive a message, the same way a painter uses a paintbrush to paint a portrait.
Another common use of memes is being able to reframe something, more or less anything. Given the examples: anime, XXXTentacion, World War Two represented by a cartoon scene, and Mark Zuckerberg, memes will try to shift the perception of how the topics it discusses. Examples include: When XXXTentacion was in jail for an armed robbery & aggravated battery and his fans continued to support him, or the ultimately foolish mistake Germany / Japan made getting USSR / US involved in WWII, Mark Zuckerberg not knowing the term 'Zucc', or when sexualized anime become increasingly popular. It would be a little much to include examples of all of them so here's a video of a grown man replicating the actions of an anime girl in real life: https://youtu.be/6QRMni0L79M. Going back to philosophy, the motive behind the memes is that there are people who are either committing logical fallacies, into something weird, have done something rather stupid, or whatever it may be, that warrants Memers to make fun of xyz with the intent of rethinking the perception of xyz.
If any case, you were thinking of a meme and it didn't fit in the last two categories, it probably belongs here: Absurdist Memes. There is a small nuance of satire or irony within these memes that are ultimately encapsulated by something utterly ridiculous. Anything from Shitpost to Distorted Music Mashups, these memes do it all.
Alright that's enough. It's obviously more difficult to dissect these types of memes, but a common theme is that they all have some sort of satire involved as the punchline if you will.
I feel like I haven't been able to talk about the meat of the philosophy of memes, so if you've scrolled down this far, allow me to award you with a (hopefully) logos accolade:
With the amount of memes made every day, there isn't a single meme that can be popularized. Only trends, Meme formats, accounts, or Memers themselves can be popularized. With that being said, memes are extremely popularized on a small scale. A given meme can be reposted dozens of times, one person who has discovered a meme can send it to tens of friends, memes have the often overseen power of connecting individuals based on the nuance of their comedic preferences. Memes and their popularity are a new medium for one to express oneself through wit and satire and receive support from like-minded people who share that wit and satire. The sociopolitical influence memes have are a prime example to show the impact memes have over individuals in a broader perspective on society, turning absurd content, relatable or ironically unrelatable content, into marks on how we communicate ourselves and how we draft a conversation. That is my (preliminary, written on a Saturday afternoon) Philosophy on Memes.