Monday, June 11, 2007

To Meme or Not to Meme? This IS the question!

When I decided to do research on memes for the Gonzo Meme Carnival, I was confused about memes. I have participated in popular blog memes such as Thursday Thirteen, Cats on Tuesday, and Wordless Wednesday, and thus I had a vague idea. However, I'm still confused what a 'meme carnival' is! Since this post is going to be my contribution to this carnival promoted by a blog friend, I decided to research memes.

Reading the definition for 'meme' in Wikipedia, I became even more confused. However, I was cheered to read this, "Considerable controversy surrounds the term "meme" and its associated discipline, memetics. In part this arises because a number of possible (though not mutually exclusive) interpretations of the nature of the concept have arisen."

This controversy made me feel a bit better. I'm not the only one who's confused!

Finding the site Meme Central where the definition of a meme was simple and straightforward helped a lot: "Memes are contagious ideas, all competing for a share of our mind in a kind of Darwinian selection. As memes evolve, they become better and better at distracting and diverting us from whatever we'd really like to be doing with our lives. They are a kind of Drug of the Mind. Confused? Blame it on memes."

Aha! So now it's the meme's causing the confusion!

The science of 'memetics' is much bigger than I knew, and the links on Meme Central have opened my eyes. One site I particularly like is the Generosity Organization. They are using a meme (and plastic cards) to pay generosity forward. If there was ever a positive reason for using a meme, this is it for me! I'd like to see more of this meme replicated.

Another revelation from this site Meme Central was that the forwards all of us are constantly receiving via email urging us to pass them on (or else!) are mind virus's or memes! They share the antidote for them here.

So what kind of meme is a Gonzo meme? This question remains to be answered. Once I read the carnival posts, hopefully I will discover if this is a virus which will require an antidote....or not!

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