What is the meme and why this term did become so popular in the last decade? This question is a topic of my today post. Many practitioners and theorists who interested in social media come up with the idea, that meme is the most important feature of online and mobile interaction? What is made the meme so unique especially on the Internet?
The Internet concept of meme emasculates initial idea of the meme, that was in Dawkins’ theory. There are two main causes of this. Firstly, the entire concept of meme is very broad. According to Dawkins, everything can be a meme. Catch-phrases, pictures, styles in fashion and architecture, and even the pop music song, that get stuck into your head – they are all memes. In this situation it’s becoming difficult to define what are not memes in modern culture. What is the difference between meme and non-meme? However, the initial concept has a deep meaning, because it try to explain how ideas spread in culture. The Internet meme concept takes just the term from initial theory and has changed the meaning of this. Therefore, it’s difficult to understand, what role memes play in Internet. Also, it’s hard to distinguish between memes and viral video. For example, I can’t define what is Ice Bucket Challenge, meme or viral video. Also, interesting question about why memes mixed with each other?
Because of simplified the initial term of ‘meme’ the meme in the Internet usually it’s just a form of joke. However, as wee can see from the Dawkins’ theory, the meme is much more deeply phenomenon.
From mine point of view the popularity of memes relates to the issue of information overload. The reason, why people try to create memes is because they can’t communicate effectively in the situation of information overload. If message is not a meme it usually lost in the ocean of information. However, Internet meme can survive and reach wide audience very quickly. From this case, it’s interesting what is make meme settled? There are some features of meme, that help it survive in the everyday information storm. First of all, meme is simple. For instance, Dawkins compare meme with gene, which is a base element of information in biology. Genes help species to keep their main conditions from generation to generation. Memes, according to Dawkins, help to reproduce culture. Memes usually include one basic idea, that can be easily recognized. Also, simplicity is important because of speed of communication. The crazy pace of our life forces us to simplify all process. Than more easier message, than more quick it spread. It should be easy to replicate meme. It is very important features, because, in modern society the audience plays an active role in a process of communication, therefore, if it can’t replicate message, add something to it, add their own personality to this message, audience possibly won’t share this message. Sharing is a very common form of interaction in social networks, and it’s a topic of my next blog. Other characteristic of meme, that makes it contagious (very easy to spread), is that meme usually causes an emotional reaction. Emotion is a engine of modern communications. If message doesn’t motivate any emotion, such as interest, smile or laugh, empathy, etc. it won’t catch the attention of the audience.
On the internet, we are dealing with an incredible amount of information on a daily basis, therefore, meme as a way to spread of ideas has became more and more popular. We all use emoticons in our messages, at the same time emoticons is a meme too. We all understand that it’s difficult to be heard in modern world because of incredible amount of information around us. However, the Internet and memes give to us the chance to catch the attention of the audience, to delivery our idea by faster and easier way. As a result, we all produce memes every day, we are trying to be original and funny in our posts, our sms, our emails, we are sharing funny pictures and video with comments and so on. On the other had, one question haunts me: is it still some ideas behind our Internet memes or it just the flow of stupid jokes, that have just one reason, to make us noticeable.
We all are mini-memes factories, but quality of our production is quite controversial.