You know how a couple of months ago I had this cat obsession and tried to find out why we are so obsessed with sharing cat-pictures in social media?
Yeah, well this time. I am all into MEMES! They cover anything from how to survive the Zombie apocalypse to very snarky comments about REF. (Okay, okay I contributed to this one.)
But the REF one got me thumbs up with one of the Twitter groups, I am following.
It all began, with …
I cannot even remember my first meme, it was some when in January. Even Times Higher Education found it necessary to pick up the topic and write an article about it. Featuring some of the most prevalent memes.
However, they did not manage to explain, why oh why these things keep popping up on my Facebook wall. Well, trusted Yahoo Answers had some badly spelled discussions about the topic. Yet, clarification is amiss. Duck Duck Go found an explanation why people use hash-tags in Twitter, when I searched for the deeper meaning of using memes. So that was a no go. It also offered an answer to ‘why people all of the sudden use: ‘fail” … all I can say to this is:
Google Scholar recommended the book: The Meme Machine by Susan Blackmore. On further research I found out that Memes might just be the missing link between culture and biology—the seagull above has clearly a lot to overcome to this regard. Symbolic representation for one thing.
But then I came across the following quote! It explains it all! Memes are contagious. It’s actually not me putting them on my Facebook wall, they spread!
Memes are contagious patterns of “cultural information” that get passed from mind to mind and directly generate and shape the mindsets and significant forms of behavior and actions of a social group.*
And they get passed on from mind to mind … I think we are finally coming closer to the Zombie apocalypse! And there are more journal articles out there explaining the whole meme business: Using memes and memetic processes to explain social and conceptual influences on student understanding about complex socio‐scientific issues. Or to express it more clearly:
So let’s summarize: memes are a culture-biological phenomenon that may or may not be genetic, but definitely behave like an epidemic, only spreading from mind to mind—and now they have taken over academia!**
But you know what?
All this is not half as entertaining as the cats addiction.
*Knobel & Lankshear, 2007, p.199 (the link is a pdf)
**Do I have to state the obvious? Really? Okay. Academia: there is a lot of mind to take over. Duh!