Author Topic: Anatomy of a Meme  (Read 23955 times)

Discord

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Re: Anatomy of a Meme
« Reply #45 on: August 12, 2007, 10:56:14 am »
Would be great to convince the coca cola company to print one of our memes on the cans. Fex.
But i guess that won't work unless someone here has very good connections.

Bebek Sincap Ratatosk

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Re: Anatomy of a Meme
« Reply #46 on: August 12, 2007, 07:12:27 pm »
do any of you practice/use/experiment with these memebombs, other ideas we've had here IRL- to people you know, work with, encounter at the coffee shoppe (whatever)?


I have made use of several memes and mindfucks at work, with friends and whenever possible. Growing up as a JW led to the useful ability of striking up conversations and speaking with conviction. I have a few personal friends that I've led through multiple meme programs and one, in particular, now plays around with his own head. A few others have grasped some of the concepts, but so far, Pope William XXIII has been the most interesting conversion. When I met him he as a confused half-goth/ex-Mormon/Arby's Assistant Manager/Republican. He's now a Discordian, complete with writing his own programs, arguing for conservative, liberal and libretarian ideas (based on who's spouting the politics),  he realized that he should be manager of the Arby's and his Mormon past he now sees as a really useful experience in a very odd reality tunnel. Now, it may be that his past experiences were very close to mine and I was better able to poke memes where I had found they worked for me... I don't really know.

With Pope William, I dropped the 23 meme on him and let him chew on it for about 6 months. He and his wife had pagan leanings and I was taking a course on Chaos Magic (Peter Carroll) and they figured I had learned it there. I got him to try the Quarter experiement under the guise of magic rituals. After about three months of that, I laid out the whole concept of meme programs, meta-programming, Attention and pattern matching. By then I had also converted him to Discordianism, with his own pope card and copy of the PD.

I've started a ritual which gets used surprisingly often among many stoners (surprised sometimes when I see it happen). It's basically a rip off of a sect of Hindu (the Saddhus). When they smoke, they call out "Bhangi Bhangi Bhangi" as an invocation to Shiva (The God of Bhang). This also alerts anyone who would like to join the ritual of communing with Shiva, using a Chillum of bhang. Afterward, they anoint their third eye with ash from the bowl and intone a call to Shiva. I mutated this slightly and when meeting a new dealer was surprised to see him do the same ritual. I asked about it feigning ignorance and he said "Someone showed me that the other day, its from some ancient ritual for pot and supposed to bring good luck" Maybe the instances are unrelated, I can't say. However, I have many hippie friends and quite a number of them have adopted my little rituals. Have they spread beyond my circle of friends... well I'd like to think so.

My department Director was being asked about some concerns from the business. In response he told them that from our perspective thet might be "finding quarters"... he's not a Discordian, but he's caught a  meme which I loosed at the office.

I think those are my favorite and probably most obvious successes in memeing non-discordians. I have no illusion that this was do to my awseomeness, or Bob's or Eris... I think that they were exceptional incidents where some of therse ideas have worked,

- I don't see race. I just see cars going around in a circle.

"Back in my day, crazy meant something. Now everyone is crazy" - Charlie Manson

Cramulus

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Re: Anatomy of a Meme
« Reply #47 on: August 13, 2007, 04:46:59 pm »
I've started a ritual which gets used surprisingly often among many stoners (surprised sometimes when I see it happen). It's basically a rip off of a sect of Hindu (the Saddhus). When they smoke, they call out "Bhangi Bhangi Bhangi" as an invocation to Shiva (The God of Bhang). This also alerts anyone who would like to join the ritual of communing with Shiva, using a Chillum of bhang. Afterward, they anoint their third eye with ash from the bowl and intone a call to Shiva. I mutated this slightly and when meeting a new dealer was surprised to see him do the same ritual. I asked about it feigning ignorance and he said "Someone showed me that the other day, its from some ancient ritual for pot and supposed to bring good luck" Maybe the instances are unrelated, I can't say. However, I have many hippie friends and quite a number of them have adopted my little rituals. Have they spread beyond my circle of friends... well I'd like to think so.

That's really cool. I think stoners are really susceptible to these sorts of ritualized behavior memes.

Back in high school, before I knew what a meme was, I tried to get a fad started that when a fire alarm went off, everyone would immediately stand up and dance ridiculously to the rhythm. All it took was cueing the two coolest kids in the class and the rest of the class would follow. I was tickled pink to later see fire-alarm dances break out when I didn't start them.

The anatomy of that meme:
-reward for participation: dancing to fire alarms is fun
-it's so simple you don't even need to explain it
-if the cool kids do it, you're cool for doing it
-participating in the meme advertises the meme to others

Iron Sulfide

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Re: Anatomy of a Meme
« Reply #48 on: August 20, 2007, 05:45:52 pm »
Would be great to convince the coca cola company to print one of our memes on the cans. Fex.
But i guess that won't work unless someone here has very good connections.

actually, with some of the craftier meme-bombs we have, we could probably get on the bottles of Jones Soda.
Ya' stupid Yank.

AFK

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Re: Anatomy of a Meme
« Reply #49 on: August 20, 2007, 06:02:08 pm »
Aren't they the ones that make that Bug Juice soda?  Seems like an apporpriate one for our memes. 
Cynicism is a blank check for failure.

Iron Sulfide

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Re: Anatomy of a Meme
« Reply #50 on: August 22, 2007, 03:37:09 am »
they also make a thanksgiving day set. it's awful.

but by and large, they make a lot of good sodas, they're independent, and they actively look for neat shit to put on the bottles.

pictures
sentences
that have you

to boot, they have a sizable market as it is. we could marginally tap that.
Ya' stupid Yank.

PeregrineBF

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Re: Anatomy of a Meme
« Reply #51 on: August 23, 2007, 12:49:41 am »
They make any flavor they can think of on occasion. But their normal stuff is good, largely because they use actual sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup.

http://www.jonessoda.com/files/yrlab.php <- For submitting label photos.

We should do a propaganda dump periodically into their gallery.

Iron Sulfide

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Re: Anatomy of a Meme
« Reply #52 on: August 24, 2007, 07:58:42 pm »
thay also have to "okay" it before it gets on a bottle..

so decency makes the sell this time, i'm afraid. unless you're that crafty.

tangteel notes:

what the fuck is it with image manip progs?

i seem to have an invisible hand stopping me from aquiring one.
i got gimp, it was missing critical files.
i pirated PS9, and the burner i used to put it to disc fucked me and didn't write the information.

FUCK.

/vent
Ya' stupid Yank.

Cramulus

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Re: Anatomy of a Meme
« Reply #53 on: August 24, 2007, 08:20:27 pm »
thay also have to "okay" it before it gets on a bottle..

so decency makes the sell this time, i'm afraid. unless you're that crafty.

tangteel notes:

what the fuck is it with image manip progs?

i seem to have an invisible hand stopping me from aquiring one.
i got gimp, it was missing critical files.
i pirated PS9, and the burner i used to put it to disc fucked me and didn't write the information.

FUCK.

/vent

obligatory:

Triple Zero

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Re: Anatomy of a Meme
« Reply #54 on: December 04, 2007, 02:20:55 pm »
bump.

posting about Sziget in the lyrics thread made me remember.

next time i'm going to a big festival you guys are going to help me come up with rumours to spread.

(this is also partly notes to self, plus illustration on plans for brainstorming about practical memeology)

only on the last day, my dutch camping neighbours told me about their mindfuck idea, some famous rock/metal band (i forgot which) had cancelled because the singer was sick or something, and they were trying to spread the rumour the organization flew over the Smashing Pumpkins to perform instead.

( and then the discussion drifted off in what kind of famous bands we would like to see, we agreed on Aphex Twin, they mentioned he was gonna perform in the Netherlands soon, and .. etc our rumourmill never went anywhere :-P )

anyway, something slightly more believable + having more funny consequences could be enormously successfull because:

- a festival like sziget with nearly 400k people on a small island is a terribly dense highly active hive.

- provision of official information during the festival is, to put it lightly, not particularly effective. the english booklet is quite thin, contains only a short and incomplete summary of the larger bands performing. the hungarian booklet is a lot more complete, but hungarian is such a weird (finno-ugric) language, if you're not hungarian you can't read it (even if you, like me, brought a tourists phrases dictionary). apart from that there's an intercom system that just broadcasts the same message every hour (in four languages hu/fr/de/en) or so.
in other words, if there's anything happened that's not according to plan, nobody is going to know.

- the hungarian and non-hungarian groups (usually 50/50%) on the island do not mix too much, so focus should be on the western-european group, who do communicate with eachother a lot (in english, so the french population may also be somewhat of an outlier, even though most young french have a reasonably understanding of english these days)

- information about news of happenings on the festival will be very popular to spread (smooooth) because nobody has a fucking clue what's going on outside the english booklet, and everybody can see there is everywhere so much more going on than that :)

this reminds me btw of the Dutch Lowlands festival, which lasts 3-4 days (a long weekend), they print and spread a free daily "lowlands newspaper", filled partly with pre-written articles and interviews with the artists performing that day, reviews of the performances yesterday, and most importantly, news of current actual events and information about the things going on at the festival. so it's be much harder to spread false rumours there.
but, if you compare Lowlands to Sziget, you see a huge gap in professionalism of organisation (which, TBH, gives Sziget a much better atmosphere, since the enthousiasm and friendlyness of the volunteers generously makes up for the organisational flaws)

um, anyway, you get the point. any thoughts on the subject? would this sort of thing work for festivals on your side of the ocean?

also, i think rumours about "this famous artist is going to perform instead of XXXX" are not really that interesting, can you guys think of something that has a more funny effect?

We've been talking a bit about memetics and the properties of memes. So from what I know of memetics, here are some concepts which may make it easier to talk about this stuff. (The terminology I use is from Unleashing the Ideavirus by Seth Godin, in which he's talking about memes in terms of marketing. He calls a successful meme an Ideavirus.)

Velocity - a measure of how fast an idea spreads from one party to another

Hive - a network of people who exchange information. Information travels very easily within a hive, especially when regard each other as credible sources. PD.com is a hive. A class of third graders is a hive. Friends who talk about HP Lovecraft are a sort of hive.

Sneeze - a sneeze is a transmission of a meme between two people. If I see a cool commercial, and then I ask my friend if he's seen that commercial, that counts as a sneeze. Basically any time you mention a product, you are sneezing that meme.

Smoothness - how easy it is for someone to sneeze the meme. Sports trivia is very smooth in regards to sports fans. Really boring or complicated topics are not smooth.

Another factor influencing smoothness is whether or not the meme presents a risk or reward to the sneezer. For example, the iPhone is considered cool. You might seem cooler for knowing about the iPhone or mentioning your friend that has one. If you're attending NAMBLA meetings you'd probably want to keep a lid on that. So NAMBLA membership isn't very smooth.

Promiscuity - One's likelihood to spread a meme. Really promiscuous people sneeze a lot. Marketing teams twist their brains in knots trying to figure out how to get the cool guys and the hot girls to start using their products. Trendsetters and people of authority tend to be very promiscuous.
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e-prime disclaimer: let it seem fairly unclear I understand the apparent subjectivity of the above statements. maybe.

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Cramulus

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Re: Anatomy of a Meme
« Reply #55 on: December 04, 2007, 03:37:54 pm »
The famous band which nobody knows about has good potential to spread well.

Dangerous warnings are good too, for two reasons:
you get a benefit from knowing that it's dangerous to do X or go to Y or eat Z
and you get to feel important by warning other people, who will no doubt thank you.

Example: The portapotty on the end has hepatitis all over it. Don't go in there, you'll get an STD.

Tell people while they're waiting in line for that specific toilet. If they're an altruistic sort of person, they will spread the meme when they see others waiting in line.

The biggest trick to spreading memes like this is to target the promiscuous. That is, the people who will rapidly communicate the info to the whole hive. With the above meme, if you happen to hit someone who is really health-oriented, altruistic, and is comfortable talking to strangers, you win. He feels like a hero, and does your dirty work for you.

Quote
only on the last day, my dutch camping neighbours told me about their mindfuck idea, some famous rock/metal band (i forgot which) had cancelled because the singer was sick or something, and they were trying to spread the rumour the organization flew over the Smashing Pumpkins to perform instead.

My college had a group of pranksters that basically did just this. Every year, they started a rumor that Frankie Munez or Ashley Olsen was coming to our college. This sort of thing is hard to verify, exciting, and spreads really quickly. One of my friends who still goes to school there recently told me that Frankie Munez actually does go to school there - which is hogwash because i know the guys who started that rumor. Also, I'm amazed that it's still going on, three years after they started it.

Cramulus

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Re: Anatomy of a Meme
« Reply #56 on: December 17, 2007, 09:54:44 pm »
This paper: http://pespmc1.vub.ac.be/Conf/MemePap/Marshall.html "The Internet and Memetics" had some very interesting points about how memes are used on the internet to create a sense of culture -- and how that culture, over time, gets narrower and narrower.

The interesting part of this paper is section 4 - Memetics at the user level. Which I will quote for you here. Bold emphasis added by me to mark the parts and phrases I found most interesting.




Quote
The Internet, as mentioned earlier, supports the rapid and accurate world-wide transmission of the memes of its users. This is a supplement to, and not a replacement for, the traditional means of spreading memes. It is also, clearly, a means which makes use of a different medium. To the extent that the characteristics of the medium differ from those of the traditional medium, so the result of dispersing memes is, in turn, different.

 It has been argued that the Internet's capability to spread memes across the world both accurately and instantaneously supports a tendency towards homogeneity in world culture (Heylighen, 1996). Memes can appear at much the same time in different parts of the world regardless of geographical and cultural boundaries to exert their effects. It has also been argued that the speed of transmission, and the resulting rapid cascade of memes across the Internet, makes it more difficult to distinguish between the more and less valuable memes (Taylor, 1996). There is a premium on short, catchy memes as opposed to more complex memes such as lengthy stories. Infectiousness assumes an importance far greater than that of attributes that may well have greater long-term value such as utility and authority.

With these insights, it is possible to sketch the essential differences between virtual and real-world communities. Virtual communities are not structured in the same way as real-world communities. Constraints of geography and status do not come into play: what matters is a common interest. But a diverse collection of people, perhaps drawn from all parts of the world and united by only a common interest, needs to construct its own culture. The network facilitates this with communication and the spread of memes. But, by comparison with the real world, memes are spread rapidly and accurately. This causes virtual communities to develop cultures that are narrow, often extreme and, in consequence, rather precarious (Marshall, 1998). Their precarious nature is re-inforced by the favouring of infectious memes over memes that might bring greater benefits in the long term, in that their adoption can result in a gap between the conceptions of the virtual world and those of the real world that is so great as to become unsustainable (Umpleby, 1996).

 The increased use of agents brings another aspect to the situation in that they can be used to control the memes to which their dispatchers are exposed. Agents are a key element in the so-called 'push' technology with which users can specify the sort of information they want to receive, after which the network will 'push' that, and only that, information to them. As with any form of 'narrowcasting' this leads to the reinforcement of existing beliefs and the avoidance of the uncertainty associated with opposing, conflicting or even just different ideas (Salem and Gratz, 1997). This kind of selective attention produces individuals who are unaware of, or even afraid of, other views and of groups holding these views. In turn, this leads to social fragmentation and the production of incompatible social segments. (I think the local trolls know exactly what they're talking about here! --Cram)

 As a final point, the gulf between those with access to the network and those who do not is amplified by the fact that these groups exchange different memes in different ways. As Internet culture develops and moves farther from real-world culture, it becomes harder, not necessarily to gain access, but to join in effectively once access is gained. Besides this, there is the very real possibility of those with access to the network becoming cut off from their real-world history. They may have no interest in it: those who do may not share the technical and cultural interests of those with access. The consequence can be a separation of those who spend most of their time on the network from their own history, which can only serve to widen further the gulf between those with access and those without.

Cain

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Re: Anatomy of a Meme
« Reply #57 on: December 17, 2007, 10:02:54 pm »
Cain, do you have anything "practical" to contribute? Or are you just here to tell others that they're doing it wrong?

I considered replying to this thread, but I saw the above reply and decided not to bother.

And yes, I did notice the date.
"The thoughts of all men arise from the darkness. If you are the movement of your soul, and the cause of that movement precedes you, then how could you ever call your thoughts your own? How could you be anything other than a slave to the darkness that comes before? Only the Logos allows one to mitigate that slavery. Only knowing the sources of thought and action allows us to own our thoughts and our actions, to throw off the yoke of circumstance."
- R. Scott Bakker, The Darkness That Comes Before

Bebek Sincap Ratatosk

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Re: Anatomy of a Meme
« Reply #58 on: December 18, 2007, 09:33:23 pm »
Cain, do you have anything "practical" to contribute? Or are you just here to tell others that they're doing it wrong?

I considered replying to this thread, but I saw the above reply and decided not to bother.

And yes, I did notice the date.

Oh you should have posted anyway.
- I don't see race. I just see cars going around in a circle.

"Back in my day, crazy meant something. Now everyone is crazy" - Charlie Manson

Shinigami715

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Re: Anatomy of a Meme
« Reply #59 on: December 29, 2007, 08:57:48 pm »
This paper: http://pespmc1.vub.ac.be/Conf/MemePap/Marshall.html "The Internet and Memetics" had some very interesting points about how memes are used on the internet to create a sense of culture -- and how that culture, over time, gets narrower and narrower.

The interesting part of this paper is section 4 - Memetics at the user level. Which I will quote for you here. Bold emphasis added by me to mark the parts and phrases I found most interesting.




Quote
The Internet...


Solid Gold Hyper Mittens. Such fucking good points! Where do you get all these gems?