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The surprising academic origins of memes

Memes

Memes

The content shared online is always changing because of the creativity of users who remix, parody, or caption popular images or videos, to create memes.

Memes may seem basic, but from a linguistic point of view, they're remarkably sophisticated, expressing and sharing ideas and opinions.

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Origin of memes

The word meme was coined by the biologist Richard Dawkins in his 1976 book, The Selfish Gene. He defined it as ideas that could replicate, evolve, and enter popular culture in a process similar to the way genes spread.

Today, a meme is a variant of an image based on a common theme that has spread widely. It is often funny but also carries political messages.

Attention hacking

Several online communities focus on creating and spreading memes, so the idea becomes viral. These communities have become very influential.

Little is understood about the way memes spread or how they influence.

Generating memes

Researchers have gained some understanding of why some memes spread widely, while others quickly die away.

One component is to ensure new offspring are continuously produced. It suggests that if anybody wants to become more influential, they could set up a meme factory that produces large numbers of variants of other memes.

Persuasive Stories
Persuasive Stories

Content persuasive and memorable enough has the tendency to evoke the person to share it to others, has ethics, emotion, and logic. If the content is credible, has some emotional appeal, and is logical, it has a high probability to be shared among others.

Why some stories go viral and others don’t was first discussed back in 350 BCE by Aristotle.

Evoking Emotion

Studies on the ‘viral’ tendencies of articles showed that:

  • Positive messages were shared more often.
  • Articles evoking an emotional response to the reader fared well.
  • An exciting headline made a big difference.
  • Amusing stories of the same event or news performed better than the duller versions.
What Makes Content Go VIral

Content can go viral when one takes care of the following things:

  1. The emotional value of the content.
  2. Arousal of positivity or excitement in the reader.
  3. An insider culture, a social currency that is understood by a subset of people.
  4. A memory-inducing trigger, which helps one remember the core message.
  5. Practicality and usefulness of the information, making it shareworthy.
  6. Good quality content, packaged in a great story, making it compelling to view and share.
The meaning of Genius

The true meaning of the word 'Genius' has been lost in translation in history.

Nowadays it is referred and related to 'achievement', which was not the original meaning. Real genius people inspire and awe others, as they have special, almost divine abilities.

Genius And Genetics

It is a myth that genius parents have genius offspring.

There is no genius gene and genetics can be part of the mix, along with attitude, commitment, and a certain mind-set.

Genius And High IQ
Being a Genius does not equate a high intelligence quotient. Real, creative genius is less about intelligence and more about having an elevated vision.
Genius does not require encyclopedic knowledge or an impressive degree.