I miss the times before smartphones existed. Memes existed for a long time before that, but they never had the term "meme" ascribed to them. They didn't have any kind of etymology ascribed to them. The kinds of people who shared them around all just collectively understood what they were. But then smartphones were invented, the normalniggers discovered them and now we have "memes".
But I always liked the "who was phone" "meme". Pic related. It's a good example of a "meme" from before "memes" existed. A lot of those "memes" were agreeably worse than the "memes" that have come and gone throughout the 2010's. But the "memes" of the 2000's will always be remembered as the first frontier of "memes", as it were.
Like how if you searched up anything related to the paranormal on youtube between 2006 and 2010, it was very likely that there would be a screamer somewhere in the video, along with that particular photo of the girl from the exorcist movie. That was a pretty common thing at one time. You could argue that putting screamers in youtube videos and making the title "GHOST CAUGHT ON CAMERA?!?" was a meme at one time, even though there was no discernible source for the idea of doing that. You either knew about the fact that it was a thing (through experiencing it firsthand) or you didn't. But now you just never see screamers. Maybe that's a good thing though.