A few months back, we analyzed every meme on the Internet. What we found is that memes are oftentimes more than just silly jokes: collectively, they can shed light on cultural, social, and political trends.
Last time, we focused specifically on the memes themselves, and that got us curious about who posts them. Who are the people on various social networks that make the memes popular by sharing them? So, we poured through data from Priceonomics customer Me.me, a search engine with a comprehensive database of memes, looking for the Internet’s most prolific “memers.”
And some rather surprising names came out on top. The meme-format has been adopted by everyone from Barack Obama to Eminem (or at least whoever manages their social pages). The biggest memer in the world turns out to be Will Smith.
The top memers
In this analysis, we define a “memer” as anyone whose social media posts are 80% or more “mixed media,” (any image or video with overlaid text). Due to this broad definition, you may see some unusual names on the lists below -- even a few US Presidents! -- but you’ll also see some memers in the truest sense (ie. Doge and Me Gusta).
Data source: Me.me
We examined thousands of accounts across four social media platforms -- Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Reddit for Reddit entries, we used subreddits instead of individual accounts) -- then limited to those with at least 10k followers/subscribers.
Each account was given a “memer” score based on: 1) How big their following was compared to the average following on the network; 2) Audience engagement, or how many average interactions each post gets; and 3) The frequency of memes posted.
Here’s how the top 100 came out, across all networks:
Surprisingly, Will Smith took the cake, nearly doubling the score of the next memer. Turns out, the actor (or whoever manages is social media) is a fan of posting memes of the wholesome variety, like this Einstein one:
He’s followed by the likes of Barack Obama (who posts mostly his own quotes imposed on pictures of himself), rapper Eminem, and entertainment site, 9gag.
As you might notice, the list is entirely populated by memers on Facebook and Instagram, where visuals -- particularly, visuals overlayed with text -- generate more engagement. But what about Twitter and Reddit?
Top memers by social network
Let’s take a look at the top 20 memers by social network:
Data source: Me.me
As expected, subreddits like r/funny, r/aww, and r/gifs dominate meme distribution on Reddit -- largely due to their massive subscriber counts. But other classics like r/AdviceAnimals and r/wholeseomemes round out the list.
On Twitter, @TweetLikeAGirl, an account dedicated mostly to posting pictures of dogs, came out on top, followed by @RelatableQuote (a quote generator), and FreddyAmazin (a singular dude who posts a lot of memes).
Top memers by category
While sifting through all these accounts, it became clear that certain memers had their specialties.
So lastly, we used Me.me’s searchable text tool to analyze for keywords in the memes, then broke down the top memers in a variety of categories. Here’s what we found.
Data source: Me.me
In some categories, the usual suspects dominate: r/aww, Buzzfeed Animals in “animals”; Bleacher Report and NBA on ESPN in “sports.”
But in other areas, we get some curveballs. In the political realm for instance, Obama nabs the #1 spot, ousting President Trump (#3) -- then, out of nowhere, we get wrestler John Cena, Family Guy creator Seth McFarlane, and Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Our overall top dog, Will Smith, rules the “wholesome” category, joined by Jackie Chan and Supernatural star Jensen Ackles.
Looking at scores, it appears that wholesome memes are seeing a heyday: they produce much higher numbers than other types of memes, indicating that people are looking for positive nuggets in a time of negative news.
Note: Special thanks to Rahul Desai from Me.me for creating the data set for this article. If you’re a company that wants to work with Priceonomics to turn your data into great stories, learn more about the .