The meme meme

March 1, 2011 § 4 Comments

I was recently checking out the Know Your Meme web series (thanks F. for the tip),  the short documentaries by the site of the same name that documents every single web meme.

Memes have penetrated the collective mind and are definitely in fashion. I doubt it whether Richard Dawkins expected in 1976, when he coined the term meme, that his meme meme would rule popular culture. Or that it would yield 334.000.000 search results in Google (of course, he would have to imagine the creation of  the world wide web first, without which, I don’t think memes would be so successful), or result in the creation of such things as the Memeopoly (meme monopoly).

But what I keep thinking about memes is that the original meme meme, the concept of the meme that is, is the most powerful meme of all. As we know, the more one meme replicates itself, the more it becomes viral, the more its longevity, the more sucessful it is. But now that we all know what memes are, the initial meme, the meme about memes, replicates itself each time another meme gets replicated. It is this self-describing conceptual mechanism that guarantees its place on top of the meme evolutionary pyramid.

Self-referentiality that pays off.

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