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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

WTH is a Meme?

I keep seeing things like, "Teaser Tuesday" is a meme hosted by .... and I thought, "yeah, I could do a Teaser Tuesday. But WTH is a meme?"  Anyone else have this same question?  I went in search of answers and here's what I found.
1.  You might be saying it wrong (I know I was). I was pronouncing it like it "men" with an m at the end, when really the word rhymes with cream.  Strike one.

2.  Thanks to Wikipedia, I now know the word originates from evolutionary theories. "The British scientist Richard Dawkins coined the word "meme" in The Selfish Gene (1976) as a concept for discussion of evolutionary principles in explaining the spread of ideas and cultural phenomena. Examples of memes given in the book included melodies, catch-phrases, beliefs (notably religious beliefs), clothing fashion, and the technology of building arches."

3.  "Internet meme" is more narrowly described (again, by Wikipedia) as follows: "At its most basic, an Internet meme is simply the propagation of a digital file or hyperlink from one person to others using methods available through the Internet (for example, emailblogssocial networking sitesinstant messaging, etc.). The content often consists of a saying or joke, a rumor, an altered or original image, a complete website, a video clip or animation, or an offbeat news story, among many other possibilities. In simple terms, an Internet meme is an inside joke, that a large number of Internet users are in on."


Turns out, everything I ever needed to know (and more), I can learn from Wikipedia. Now that we all know, maybe next week I'll actually get around to participating in a meme. (Which I will probably always pronounce wrong in my head.)

6 comments:

Angela Ackerman said...

Haha, I was totally saying it wrong. Thanks for cluing me in before I opened my mouth to someone and stupid came out!

Well, I guess that happens even without mispronunciations...LOL

Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

cleemckenzie said...

And I thought I was the only one who didn't "get" it! Thanks. This post not only made me feel better, but it made me think about Wikipedia in a new light.

Carrie Dair said...

When I first saw meme I instantly thought of a character from Marquez's 100 years of solitude (which I just finished reading). Um...yeah...no similarities whatsoever. Thanks for the education. :)

salarsenッ said...

'K, so I was saying it correctly. Maybe that's because I'm French; who knows?? But am I glad you cleared this up. Just because I can say it, doesn't mean I've had an effing clue what it meant!! I've been wondering that. Merci, Jessie!!

beth said...

good to know.

Tabitha said...

I go to Wikipedia for quite a bit. It's always my first stop in research (I will make other stops too, just to verify the info is correct), and it's amazing all the tidbits of info available. I've wasted hours clicking around that site on irrelevant research. :)

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