What is a Meme?


This is the definition page for “What is a meme?”
The main page for The Daily Meme is http://thedailymeme.com/

What is a meme?

People often ask, “What is a Meme?” so here’s a more than a little information on that. I pronounce it so it’s rhymes with ‘dream'; some pronounce it so it sounds like ‘mem’ (from mem-ory).


First off, technically many of the sites here are not actually memes. Most of the sites listed here create new questions all the time and removes the whole evolving viral concept of a meme. But most people call them memes and I liked the word ‘meme’ so I used the word when creating this site.

In the context of web logs / ‘blogs / blogging and other kinds of personal web sites it’s some kind of list of questions that you saw somewhere else and you decided to answer the questions. Then someone else sees them and does them and so on and so on. I generally consider these to be actual questions and not some multiple choice quizzes that determine some result at the end (what color you are most like, what cartoon character are you, what 80s movie are you).

By some other definitions memes are viral and propagate around sometimes mutating as they propagate. Someone proposed something along the lines of some blog posts are viral, they write about something they see on one blog and the next person does the same sometimes their interpretation varies slightly changing the story (I cannot find this original reference).


Eventually some people decided they were going to creating weekly questionnaires (memes) and post them every week. Some are monthly, a few are daily and some are always there. Some suggest that you get five other people to do the same meme and they have to get five people (and so on), which sometimes increases their propagation. This probably stunts their mutated growth, having a permanent storage place where people go to find them but many people copy them from the site where they see it and they’ll still change a bit.

Personally I liked these sites; sometimes they give me things to write about that I would have never started the topic on my own. So I started collecting them here at The Daily Meme http://thedailymeme.com/.

Other information from around the web

A meme is:

  • An idea that, like a gene, can replicate and evolve.
  • A unit of cultural information that represents a basic idea that can be transferred from one individual to another, and subjected to mutation, crossover and adaptation.
  • A cultural unit (an idea or value or pattern of behavior) that is passed from one generation to another by nongenetic means (as by imitation); “memes are the cultural counterpart of genes”.

    Origins of the word

    The term and concept of meme is from the 1976 book by Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene. Though Dawkins defined the meme as “a unit of cultural transmission, or a unit of imitation,” memeticists vary in their definitions of meme. The lack of a consistent, rigorous definition of what precisely a meme is remains one of the principal criticisms leveled at memetics, the study of memes. (from the Wikipedia)

    Other Sources

  • Wikipedia
  • Google
  • alt.memetics
  • Wiktionary

  • Open-dictionary


     

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