The idea of a social 'meme' comes from Richard Dawkins The Selfish Gene. Put simply, Dawkins argues that ideas evolve by a process of natural selection
Just as genes propagate themselves in the gene pool by leaping from body to body via sperms or eggs, so memes propagate themselves in the meme pool by leaping from brain to brain.Some have challenged the notion that an idea can 'leap' from 'brain to brain' but the term has become widely used in academic circles - an indication perhaps of the the application of Darwinism to non-biological areas.
What is an internet meme?
The term 'internet meme' strays some way from Dawkins. It has come to have a very wide and vague use - typically descrbing something something that quickly becomes popular as it spreads by imitation online. Famous examples include the selfie, Harlem Shake and the phrase FAIL
fail – v., n., adj.
Most memes are ephemeral and pass into obscurity but a few have survive - a natural selection of sorts.
Meme= Popular New Idea The word meme is also used to mean a widely accepted new idea. Here BBC Radio 4's Start the Week discuss a 'cultural meme'
Darwinian Fairytales: Selfish Genes and Other Fables of Evolution
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