Perhaps the most important meme extant on the web today is the existence of memes themselves. If you don’t know what a meme is, then you need to go find out, and read some Dawkins while you’re at it. Little chunks of information and zeitgeist rolled into cues for the enlightened pop up all over the internet; sometimes cruel, sometimes hilarious, usually important to the existence of the society itself.
I am but a humble traveller within the blogosphere, but I tend to find a huge number of addictive memes every week, to which I am incapable of subscribing, partially because I have a limited number of accomplices with whom to share the meme, or because some of them betray a socially retarded geekiness which alienates my peers.
Memetics is akin to genetics, relying on an evolutionary process, and essentially survival of the fittest for ideas, which exist as packets of information. Self-replicating units of information whizz around the light medium of the internet, propagating or perishing with the wont of the web-surfer. Whenever a meme catches on, or grabs the imagination, it has a chance of replication, of continued transmission, and of redevelopment. If it lands on particularly fertile ground, or finds a receptive community, it thrives.
The best (and most cruel) showcase for the internet meme is the often disgraceful Encyclopedia Dramatica, (NOT WORK SAFE) which encapsulates the hilarious and often debauched memetic excess of the new internet generations (since there are now a few of them) and seeks out examples of ‘drama’ and ‘lulz’ on the world wide web. Lulz, as you might expect, are incidences of apparently humorous material on the net, but can also be created as an externality of ‘Drama’.
If I have lost you at this point, it’s hardly surprising. The language of the new generations online is close to a cant; it’s not meant to be understood by the likes of you and me.
Encyclopedia Dramatica is the pot into which memes find their way and find themselves catalogued, listed, parodied and redistributed around the internet. It is pure entertainment, if you can guard yourself against the sheer viciousness of the approach they take, and it is utterly educational.
There’ll be more on memes on this blog soon.