Memes have become monstrously popular on the web. It’s a simple idea, combining words and pictures to make a point. But this basic premise has been used in a wide variety of ways. Whether it’s making a political or social statement, forcing people to think in new directions through disparate words and images, or simply looking for new opportunities for humor, memes have spread virally in unique ways. The most popular memes have even spun off into new versions that spread just as far and fast as the original. Since Apple app programmers are always looking for ways to give their consumers easier interfaces with the things they love, it’s no surprise that one tech innovator has launched a new iPhone app designed to simplify the creation of these omnipresent memes. The new app is called Blurtt, and co-founder Jeanette Cajide believes it offers users a whole new way to express themselves.
Blurtt was created with the premise that sometimes text is simply not enough. Texting has become an immensely popular way to communicate, but it comes with certain inherent limitations. Meaning can be misunderstood, as there’s no way to focus people’s attention on humor or sarcasm. Without the voice of the speaker in your ear, it’s easy to miss the point. Combining photos with a message allows users a way around these communication issues. Blurtt gives you the chance to search for an image to match with your text message. It ties in with the search engines on Bing and Flickr, while also allowing users to upload their own images. Then you can lay a text message over the top. It can be as long as 100 characters, and you pick the location and font for the message overlay. It’s simple to share with other friends that have Blurtt, but also gives you the option of sending it as a text message link, or through an email. Cajide suggests this gives users the opportunity to pack extra meaning into a message. So as the saying goes, if a picture is worth a thousand words, “a Blurtt is worth a tiny bit more.”
Beyond the person-to-person applications of a Blurtt, the app is clearly poised to help users create memes. So if a Blurtt goes viral, other users have the chance to upload it to their app and vary it as they see fit. In the end, a meme is simply a recognizable image and text combination, but its strength is in users’ ability to make changes and send it back out to the web. That’s how these things go viral, and why they seem to continue to appear well after the initial excitement has run dry.
This is not the first tool to hit the market for meme-makers, but with its design focused on the mobile interface, the creators have made it incredibly simple to search and create from wherever you connect online. Blurtt has a lean but attractive visual presentation, and may lead to different types of memes, rather than simple, cheap humor grabs.
There are potential corporate applications as well. Brands could use Blurtt to communicate with their consumer base, to design meme-inspired advertising campaigns, or even to hold contests. If you’ve ever loved a meme, or wanted to create your own, this is certainly an app to explore.
Thanks to Evan Fischer for this quest post. He is a freelance writer and part-time student at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, California.