|Reviews for Memes, What Exactly Are They and What Role Do They Play?|
| Complex Variable 12/1/12 . chapter 1
It's "gangnam", not [gangham].
Do you know the who/what/when of memes' origins? The concept of a "meme" was introduced in 1976 by Richard Dawkins (the famous atheist) in his book "The Selfish Gene". That book launched the social-scientific field of "memetics"—the study of memes. Basically, Dawkins presented memes as being to thoughts as genes are to heritable traits. A meme is a "unit" of culture/thought/behavior. The idea behind "memes" is that they evolve and "reproduce" (i.e. spread) across human societies/minds in much the same way that genes spread across populations of organisms. Ideas, then—in memetic theory—are engaged in their own form of "survival of the fittest"; the idea (the meme) that is the most well-adapted to the given human culture/society is going to be the one that survives and propagates.
If you think about it, the real game-changing effects of thinking about the world in terms of memes come from the notion that our ideas may not entirely be our own—that ideas USE our minds to spread, kind of like imaginary viruses—just like genes use organisms to propagate themselves. In this line of thought, religion, tradition, art, stories, language, writing, scientific theory, and so on—they are all examples of memes. The ones that have survived to this day are the ones that were the more "fit."
Note then, that, under this broader definition of memes, your assertion that [Days before the Internet, a meme could be found more locally] is actually quite wrong. Think of Christianity, for instance, or Language, or Writing—those are some of the biggest memes in human history. Money, too, is a meme; so is art, music, and pretty much everything that humans do as a consequence of the activities of their minds.
[memes are native to the internet, is because of the newfound speed a meme can spread] - - - this is definitely true. Also—remember—the internet is the ultimate networking tool; it creates spaces where memes can find their niche, even though—outside of the internet—that meme may not have spread very far. Think of internet videos; without YouTube (or something like it), things like "David After Dentist" would have remained confined to the family/friends of the guy that filmed it. What we see, then, is that the internet not only acts as a conduit for memes—as a place for them to find niches that they otherwise wouldn't be able to access—but, that, by doing so, the internet has drastically changed the "rules" by which memes compete with one another. With the internet, memes that normally wouldn't have spread so far are now given opportunities to flourish; hence their immense proliferation.
| Anihyr Moonstar 12/1/12 . chapter 1
[If have been on the internet for any certain period of time] Missing a "you" there after "If".
[Parodies on the Internet] You capitalize internet here, but you don't in other places; best to keep it consistent.
[orange"lamda"] Missing a space there.
I like that you explained memes in a broader context. I think people have a bad habit of seeing things in their present lives, being unaware of their history, and assuming said things are "new" (especially when it's considered a fault or a "cancer of the new age").
I feel like the wording in several areas was fairly clunky, though, which made it slower to read and absorb. I think it would benefit from some condensing and tidying up in places.
Other than that, interesting. :)