Internet Memes!

I found this article (http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1184060,00.html) from 2006 in which Time magazine’s Lev Grossman discusses the emerging phenomenon of viral internet content. Besides being a humorous look back at a time when Yahoo! Video was growing at 148% per annum, the article discusses the method of the transmission of memes around the internet.

Webster’s dictionary defines the term “meme” as: “an idea, behavior or style that spreads from person to person within a culture.” We pass memes (synonymous with viral content) along from person to person on the internet through email, social networking sites, and other content hubs like reddit or imgur. I would argue that they can be a useful tool for plotting both the structure of communication networks and the nature of relationships between individuals that transmit memes. In the language of Theory of Networks, the transmission of memes exposes the strength of edges between nodes.

On the internet, memes have incredible diversity. They are not all the same style of content and we share different content with different people. I may share a Temple Basketball score with my grandmother, a hilarious video with my roommate, or a nostalgic article about a cherished old toy with my sister. Each of these memes reminds me of some aspect of the link that I have with each person. The meme that I share indicates the nature of my relationship.

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One thought on “Internet Memes!”

  1. The concept of Memes is fascinating in that they not only, as you said, show the nature of the relationship between individuals, but also they show the nature of the relationship between different communities and how the individuals within those communities ultimately connect with eachother.

    Individuals on Facebook (or whatever social media network) who ‘Like’ or ‘Share’ a Meme are the many nodes which are all connected; a share or a like essentially creates an edge between you and the Meme. And when someone else likes the Meme because they see on their Timeline that you liked it and it is relevant to them, then an edge is created between those two people. This continues.

    It would be interesting to see how people act as bridges between communities (or components). For example, I am from Bermuda but I attend school at Temple. Therefore I have two sets of Memes that I subscribe to, which in a way, connects Temple students to Bermuda and vice versa.

    Also, digging into Memes has the potential to reveal some very interesting observations on different cultures and how peoples within and outside those cultures percieve it. Whether or not some things are simply funny or social issues that seriously need to be addressed.

    Y.Osborne

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