Fancy Word Salad- Musings on the Definitions of Intriguing Words

Todays Word: Memetic

Memetics has the word Meme in it, and I hear smart people fling it around a whole lot. I had a rough idea of what it meant before I wrote this, but I needed clarity. What, exactly, does memetic mean? And how is it related to the popular modern term ‘meme’?

Apparently, the word memetics was coined by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins in his 1976 book The Selfish Gene, proposing a theory on cultural transmission and evolution. Notice how ‘Gene’ and ‘Meme’ are similar?

Memetics is a field of study concerned with the transmission of cultural information over time, and borrows from Darwinism the basic evolutionary principles that can be applied to human culture, such as competition and reproduction. Memetics is about studying what our culture is made up of, and why predominate cultural creations are predominant, or why they are not. Basically, how culture spreads, or doesn’t. And in the age of technology, its taken on a whole new meaning.

Why do some memes fail and some succeed? If that's your question, memetics is the field trying to figure that out. It should be a huge field, considering the meme is in center stage on the internet. Apparently, for some reason, its a controversial topic, and yet, memes are the lifeblood of the internet… and interestingly, also our cultural identities.

I find it inherently interesting. Its basically what I call meme-ology but fancy. I guess when somebody says ‘this thing is memetic’, they mean it has strong potential to adapt and reproduce in our cultural environment, which viral memes are a great example of. Its incredibly interesting, and I could spend a lot of time thinking and writing on this subject, but for now; A lovely word to add to my word salad.

Is word salad a meme??? What does ‘meme’ mean in your mind?



Memetics and the science of going ciral, by Shontavia Johnson,

Three Memetic Theories of Technology, Asuncion Alvarez, Virginia Tech University Libraries



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