Ever wondered why memes are created? ….and how they evolve from one form to another.
I was fascinated with the vast number of memes proliferating online, probably because almost everyone has easy access to the Internet nowadays, many are getting more involved, expressive and opinionated with what’s happening in our society….and many are creative enough to come up with these humorous “interventions” on the mysteries of life.
Memes are viral and propagate around therefore sometimes mutating as they propagate from one person to the next. It’s success on becoming viral would depend on how popular the subject matter of the meme is, and it would be a big help as well if the subject matter continues to be in the news.
According to Wikipedia, a meme is “an idea, behavior or style that spreads from person to person within a culture. A meme acts as a unit for carrying cultural ideas, symbols or practices, which can be transmitted from one mind to another through writing, speech, gestures, rituals or other imitable phenomena. Supporters of the concept regard memes as cultural analogues to genes in that they self-replicate, mutate and respond to selective pressures.”
The term and concept of meme is from the 1976 book by Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene. Though Dawkins defined the meme as “a unit of cultural transmission, or a unit of imitation,” memeticists vary in their definitions of meme. The lack of a consistent, rigorous definition of what precisely a meme is remains one of the principal criticisms leveled at memetics, the study of memes.
The term Internet meme is used to describe a concept that spreads via the Internet. An Internet meme is an idea that is propagated through the World Wide Web. The idea may take the form of a hyperlink, video, picture, website, hashtag, or just a word or phrase, such as intentionally misspelling the word “more” as “moar” or “the” as “teh”. The meme may spread from person to person via social networks, blogs, direct email, news sources, or other web-based services. An Internet meme may stay the same or may evolve over time, by chance or through commentary, imitations, parody, or by incorporating news accounts about itself. Internet memes can evolve and spread extremely rapidly, sometimes reaching world-wide popularity within a few days.
Memes are contagious ideas, all competing for a share of our mind in a kind of Darwinian selection. As memes evolve, they become better and better at distracting and diverting us from whatever we’d really like to be doing with our lives.
They are the basic building blocks of our minds and culture, in the same way that genes are the basic building blocks of biological life.
They are used to criticize or get attention. Mostly the most interesting ones are those that deals with current events added with a slice of humor. Some would last for ages, while some would just be around for a few days.
In my case, I share and create memes, as one of the ways to feel “connected” and “in touch” with what’s happening around me. I may not always be capable to campaign for change at the forefront, at least I am reaching out to a few more people online.
Are you just one of those that share memes, or are you one of the creative geeks that create them?