The Top Memes of 2020 [Content Made Simple]

Issue #203: Italy's mob bosses are social media influencers now, and authors share about what it was like to publish in a pandemic.


What was your favorite meme of 2020? This is a pretty great list, and I had forgotten about some of them!



"With so many people stuck indoors, social distancing and on the internet, people were entertaining themselves by creating memes," said Don Caldwell, editor-in-chief of the meme database Know Your Meme. "Not only that, people were using memes to connect."

Caldwell said Know Your Meme's coronavirus category broke site records for the number of entries it received.

Whether it was poking fun at "nature healing" or darker humor aimed at people who hadn't taken proper Covid-19 precautions, for many, memes were a pandemic coping tool. They were also tied to major events like the presidential election, including Kamala Harris' phone call to Joe Biden declaring, "We did it, Joe," and what felt like an eternity for many people waiting for Nevada to declare its winner after election night.


Memes are one of my very favorite parts about the internet as a whole. I just love it when it feels like the whole world is in on a goofy joke (even though it’s really just a very small fraction of the world). Memes get even better when the original joke, the core of the meme, is extracted and remixed with some other cultural elements. This is a great list of some of the top memes in 2020.


We are starting to record again this week! Pod back next week!


Link #1: Zoom Book Tours: 5 Authors on Publishing in a Pandemic

As someone who both works in publishing and is an author, I found this to be a fascinating read. I feel so badly for folks whose amazing book ideas may have been hurt by the pandemic. At the same time, the pandemic has certainly helped some authors whose topics became more relevant than they even realized they would be.

Writing a book is a lonely pursuit, one that can take years of solitary work. Selling a book is another story. Authors give talks in cramped storefronts, schmooze at luncheons, and learn to casually discuss their belabored creative project as commercial content. The publicity circuit can be dispiriting, sleazy, and exhausting. It can also be exhilarating, liberating, and fun—a chance for people who spend a lot of time alone with their thoughts to feel like someone’s heard them. This year, releasing a book into the world became another task largely undertaken solo, at home, staring at a screen. The Covid-19 pandemic forced the publishing industry to reimagine its process for convincing people to buy its latest offerings. Even the industry’s fanciest nights, like the National Book Awards gala, took place as digital events, with participants glammed up and sitting at home.

Link #2: Italian Mafia Members Are Turning Into Social Media Influencers

This is a super fascinating piece! I have a book on the mafia queued on my Audible account for when I finally finish my Rockefeller biography.

For mafia experts, Mr Torcasio’s decision to become a social media influencer is an example of how some Italian mafia bosses, who generally maintain a low public profile to avoid attention from the authorities, have embraced a digital strategy to grow their criminal brands. “The mafia has always been in the business of brand building, and here the medium has changed, but the aims have not,” said Federico Varese, an expert on organised crime at the University of Oxford. “Powerful criminal brands reduce the need to use violence, as if you borrow money from me and know I am in the mafia, you already know I am serious. This reputation helps me avoid violence, which attracts attention, so building it is a very rational investment.” 

Link #3: Backlinking Is Still Critical for SEO [Infographic]

If you’re in marketing, you may wonder if SEO is still relevant. It definitely is, but its changes are even harder to track than social media’s changes. This is a helpful infographic.

SEO is always changing, with Google making thousands of changes every year to its ranking algorithm, which determines the order in which search results are displayed for any given query.

Yes, thousands. Many of those changes are very small, but all have the potential to impact your business, and alter your approach to optimizing your website's search performance.

So how can you stay up to date with every change, and ensure that you're on top of your SEO game? The truth is, you likely can't, but you can ensure that your SEO approach adheres to Google's core fundamentals, which, despite the many tweaks, are rarely changed, and remain critical to your ranking efforts.


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