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.
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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.
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.
Internet memes are units of popular culture that are shared, imitated, and changed by users.
The first meme on the internet was the sideways 'smiley' :-) , created in 1982. The practice of using punctuation markers to show emotion spread quickly and later other expressions, such as :-( and ;-) were added.
The first example of digital viral content is the Hampster Dance meme - rows of dancing hamster GIFs - created by an art student in 1998.
You may think it was your idea to keep your desk neat or speak up in a meeting, but your behavior was likely influenced by those in your network.
Once we understand social networks, we can use its power to shape workplaces for the better. You can turn an unhappy team into an innovative, collaborative one.