Ponder This

I always used to be behind the curve with things. I never got things “first”. I put this down to not being one of the cool kids in school but, frankly, I never really gave a flying teaspoon for most things that were classed as cool. Still, it would have been nice to know things before other people…

Lately however, I’ve been privileged to start to drift into circles that are responsible for moving the shaking on a bit, instead of watching from the sidelines.

Take memes for example. It used to be that I’d only get tagged when something had been round the houses so many times it had blisters on its feet. Now I’m frequently in the first rounds of people to be tagged (that I’m aware of) and then I get tagged a few weeks later when it comes back round again.

And don’t get me started on Facebook games and the like. One week it’s zombies, then it’s pirates, then it’s vampires, then it’s zombies again, followed by vampires, and zombies, and – ooh! How about zombie-pirate-vampire-ninjas?!

What I’m trying, very incoherently to say is that I am fascinated by how these things travel round the Internet. On more than one occasion, I’ve stumbled across something and had a momentary “ooh, that’s cool” pause, only for my father or other individual who’s life is as equally un-involved in the internet to tell ME about it four or five months later.

There’s a research question in there somewhere I’m sure, not to mention cracking how ideas permeate the internet would make marketing people very very happy bunnies.

Me, I’m just sitting back and gazing at things with a bubbling sense of school-girl excitement.

7 thoughts on “Ponder This

  1. The labels on the above three fields for name, e-mail, and website are nigh on unreadable.

    There’s been plenty of research into memes and the way they propagate through their various cultures.

    A good starting point is Aaron Lynch’s book Thought Contagion. Though blog memes (“Bemes”, apparently) aren’t referenced directly, he coins a term that describes the process almost to a tee: proselytic transmission.
    Proselytic transmission is a form of horizontal transmission (transmission between peers). He describes it as (paraphrasing, don’t have the book handy) any idea that spreads by encouraging its participants to tell it to others. He cites a Christian meme as an example where they are encourage to tell others that Christianity can increase one’s chances of getting into heaven. Understandably, it holds great proselytic power, and it spreads with some vigour.

    Something else worth reading is a piece written by the now infamous Richard Dawkins in ’91 called Viruses of the Mind. It’s lengthy though.

    Just google proselytic transmission and memetics for some good starting points if you want to look into it a little deeper.

  2. Actually, I’ve been ‘tagged’ for what has become known as the meme (the x questions etc.) only a few times. I’ve replied and done it just the once I think. Interesting as they may be to some, I usually skip over them, as I have been doing the past few weeks as well.

    But if you’re talking about the way some ideas suddenly seem to be everywhere, only to disappear a bit later, I agree that I’ve also become more versed in spotting them. The death of the blog was one such idea that I spotted early on, blogged about, and even now see popping up here and there. Perhaps even here, if I recall right 😉

    The two, however, are very different things. Do blog about what we used to call a buzz, but I would advise you not to do the next 8 things. They do bring down the standards of the Meadow so…

  3. If I’m being honest here, I have to admit that I do do the odd meme – not as many as I get ‘tagged’ with, but there are one or two that have caught my interest so I do them. I very rarely tag other people though.

    But I have standards here at the Meadow?! Wow *blush*

  4. I agree with Nils. The vast majority of bemes (I like that word now) as they have become popularly defined (X things about me, etc.) are completely uninteresting and bring down the quality of the blog propagating them (unless the blog was already boring). (I include myself in that, incidentally.)

    The worst thing is when people try and turn memes into something more interesting by writing paragraphs and paragraphs to cover something that could easily be said in a couple of lines. (I’m a repeat offender of this, too.) But a couple of lines seems like a waste of an entry! they cry. Well. Don’t do the meme then. Those clamouring for content are the worst offenders, unsurprisingly.

Comments are closed.