Once I overheard my Mom and Aunt having a heating discussion about something. At some point during the argument my Aunt said
“I was only trying to help”
Although I did not fully understand my moms reply, I would never forget it.
“If you find me in the forest in a fight with a bear…you better help the bear!”
And just like that…the agrument was over.
At the time I was too young to understand what that meant, but that did not stop me from using the saying, over and over again through the years. Until one day in the late 90’s I was watching a college basketball press conference. The coach of the team who was considered to be the underdog, used the same quote to show confidence in his teams ability to beat anyone. It was then that I first realized that my Mom had not invented the saying.
So recently, with the world-wide web at my disposal, I set out to discover the true origin of the saying. But, while I was not able pinpoint its true originator, what I did learn was much more interesting and Important. Because in the world we live in today, the words, stories and ideas that get passed along from one person to another are units of cultural information that can be tracked, monitored, and monetized. They are called Memes. And I am Certainly not the only person interested in how they are used.
The term Meme was coined by the british Biologist and Ethogist Richard Dawkins. In his book The Selfish Gene, he explains how cultural information can spread from one person to Another Similar to the way the common cold spreads through a population. This is where we get the concept of going viral. The common cold is soo difficult to cure because it interacts with the DNA of each person it infects. So one person with a cold may just get runny nose, and another person is in bed for days…or worse. So in order for Doctors to be effective, the health care industry would have to divest an enormous amount of time and resources into monitoring and treating the population as individuals, and not as a collective. But,Such endeavors would be too costly and time consuming
So what’s my point here? The various social media platforms makes up one very large marketplace. What is being sold is your ideas, images, contact list, time, and attention. With balance, Social media can be valuable tool.
I’m not anti-social media, I mean I’m posting this on social media, hoping that you will hear this and ponder it as a positive bit of cultural information from my mind to yours. You can catch me on Twitter, @chuckeazay22, Facebook and Instagram. But other times, you can catch me …in some other place.
So I leave you with this question: If you could create a meme that would be guaranteed to go viral. What would it be? leave a comment below.