You’ve been hearing us talk for a while about “memes.” While the term itself has become memetic and is gaining popularity, we also like to remind people of the classic Richard Dawkins definition of a meme – a “self-replicating, self-perpetuating sequence of ideas.” To call a fad or viral phenomenon a meme with no explanation is to not do the thing justice.
Last week, my sister Kay in Philadelphia skyped with me (Skype, which started out as brand name, has now become a verb, which is a sure sign of memetic replication) and during the call she talked about her “favorite blog ever”: Texts from Hillary. You can go check it out at textsfromhillaryclinton.tumblr.com. I won’t give away the sheer cleverness and simplicity of this photo satire blog, but over 28,000 likes and over 83,000 shares on Facebook as well as 45,000 Tumblr (another memetic phenomenon) followers in a week, speaks for itself. This is a sudden pandemic on the interwebs.
But the most interesting part for me is that these two fellas, who started the blog just as a joke between them, demonstrate that they fully recognize the nature of what’s happened, when they use expressions like “as far as memes go, this has gone as far as it can go.” And at the end of their final message to the blogosphere, they say, right above the photo where they actually met Hillary Clinton because of the notoriety their little blog has caused: “It turns out that memes really do come true.”
Music to my memetic ears. For us at Wunderkind, and our sister company Scientific Intelligence, who specializes in mapping memes of all kinds, this is confirmation that the world is starting to catch up to our thinking. Next week, in honour of this, I’ll write a post called “Live the Meme.” Not kidding.