- 1 What is a meme?
- 2 Internet memes or easy entertainment phenomenon
- 3 The origin of Internet memes
- 4 The technological evolution of memes
What is a meme?
The meme is a concept introduced by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, who argued that cultural ideas can be copied between people, just as genes are copied from one person to another.
The authors theorize that memes are a viral phenomenon that can evolve by natural selection in a manner analogous to that of biological evolution. The memes are able to mutate, vary and evolve through the processes of competition and inheritance, which influence the reproductive success of a meme.
The memes spread through the behavior they generate in their hosts. Thus, memes that spread less prolifically can become extinct, while others can survive, expand and (for better or worse) mutate. Memes that replicate more effectively achieve more success, and some can do so even when they are detrimental to the welfare of their hosts.
The memes are transmitted from one mind to another, not through DNA. The diverse cultural ideas float in our collective consciousness and compete for our attention through natural selection. The meme is the information that is copied in the cultural evolutionary process.
Internet memes or easy entertainment phenomenon
In Internet the memes are strongly linked to the category of "useless". They consist of videos, images and phrases that are mainly entertainment. Some are copied because we are afraid of what would happen if we do not, the fear of bad luck for not forwarding a chain message, for example.
But there internet memes that cross all barriers due to social pressures. Apparently, there is a natural tendency to want to make others happy, either through jokes or any other entertainment. And making someone happy is the fulfillment of a fundamental part of human nature.
The origin of Internet memes
So where do they come from Internet memes? Some are created by advertising agencies, but the vast majority they begin their life as internal jokes within communities online. A new meme can attract attention within a high profile blog or news site. If the meme ends in some way in our inbox, then it is easier for it to expand by transmitting emails to friends and family, or by sharing it on social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Once a meme reaches a certain level of popularity, it is said that ha is "viral."
The technological evolution of memes
Every step in the evolution of a meme on the Internet is subject to repeated rounds of natural selection, since it competes with thousands of other ideas or memes; thus the strongest memes survive, while the others die along the way.
Technology is playing a great role in promoting memes. Traditionally cultural memes passed or from person to person or through writing, but today the Internet has allowed information to be transported without direct contact between people, over long distances, and even over time.
The Internet is taking the reins of the transmission and evolution of memes. Google search results, for example, are created after web pages have been ranked based on their popularity. Your software selects from several sources of information and then copies the best bits to a database, so the memes are starting to spread without the need for people to take sides in the process. The machinery takes care of the three fundamental processes: copying, variation and selection. Some experts say that we may even have a new name for this type of technological memes, such as "tremes" or "fears."
However, the mind viruses will continue to infect us via Internet. And, unless we stop using the Internet, there isn't much we can do to protect ourselves from them. So don't feel guilty about resending an email that contains the latest funny video, you can blame memes.